By Lisa Sugarman
I’m an only child, so I always had a pretty good lock on being my parents’ favorite kid. (Tip: When you limit the options, the odds are always stacked in your favor.) And I have to admit, even though I would’ve loved the companionship of a brother or a sister or both, there was definitely something to be said for having zero competition in the Favorite category. There was no one to compare me to, so I was always a shoo-in.
Now though, as an adult with kids of my own, I’ve almost always got someone vying for the Favorite spot. And because my kids—like yours—have a highly sophisticated radar system hard wired into their genetic code, they can detect every opportunity to ingratiate themselves on my good side. Like when one’s being particularly snarky, the other seizes the chance to suck up to me. Never fails. It’s usually a real seesaw battle, although it’s always entertaining for me.
But lately, one of my girls is consistently blowing the others away as a model child. And as much as I try never to play favorites, I’m compelled to give her the shout out she deserves. Because in my opinion, stand-out behavior deserves to be acknowledged. So I feel obliged to give her props for being my easiest, even though it goes against my nature to put one of them on a pedestal above the others.
Now she is my oldest, by a lot, so in all fairness she’s had more time to mature and settle into herself. And I’ve taken that into consideration, believe me. But quite frankly, she’s just naturally easy-going and low maintenance. And she loves to be with me, which, in and of itself elevates her status.
I mean, what mother of girls doesn’t fantasize about their daughters hanging on their every word? What mother wouldn’t give anything to have her girls drop everything just to lie on the couch together and watch HGTV? What mother wouldn’t offer to do her neighbor’s laundry every day for life in exchange for a daughter who never complained, rarely made a mess, licked her plate clean, and sailed through puberty without even a second’s worth of drama?
Now do you understand why I just have to give my girl the recognition she deserves? I mean, she drops everything and comes running the second I call her name. And she’s so eager to please that she’s practically panting with excitement every time I yell for her. Talk about devotion. What mother wouldn’t want to brag, at least a little bit?
To be honest, I do kind of feel bad for my other kids because this one’s set the bar so high that it’s almost impossible for the others to compete. And I think they realize that their sister is unique in that way. She’s not like other girls. No sass. No attitude. Never slammed a door or talked back a day in her life. And, believe it or not, she’s never actually asked me to buy her one single thing. Not one.
She’s dreamy, what can I say? Nails it in all the major categories. She’s my most obedient, affectionate, passive, reliable child.
Now I’m the first to recognize that no kids are created equal. They’ve all got their own special and unique qualities that makes them loveable and endearing. But the reality of parenthood is that there are always kids who capture your heart in extraordinary ways. There just are. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with celebrating those exceptional kids for being so remarkable. You know, at some point along the line, we just have to be allowed to call a spade a spade. So that’s exactly what I’m doing.
With the exception of a couple of challenging years when she was young and a little wild and often hard to control, she’s given me [us] next to no grief.
Ok, so anatomically speaking, my favorite child isn’t exactly your typical child. In fact, she’s not a bonafide child at all. She’s my ten-year-old beagle; Lilly. But my daughters love her like a sister and as far as Dave and I are concerned, she’s just another one of our kids. And as much as I hate to rank them against each other, right now she’s my favorite. And she’s earned it.
Maybe if my other daughters start licking my face and come when I call them, their stock will go up. Maybe. In the meantime, my dog will retain the title of Favorite Child. At least until one of my other kids learns how to fetch me the paper. Then it’s anybody’s ballgame.
Lisa Sugarman lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at itiswhatitiscolumn.wordpress.com. She is also the author of LIFE: It Is What It Is available on Amazon.com.