I pull Mowgli close and whisper in his ear: you’re my favorite, repeating the phrase I had shared with Blue Boy earlier. In their younger years, I would complete the address: you’re my favorite Mowgli. You’re my favorite Blue Boy. Until they learned that they are each my favorite: my favorite them.
My siblings and I joke that my Little Sis was the favorite child until Baby Bro came along. My own children openly argue about who is the parents’ favorite, inevitably pointing to their own baby bro, C-Boy who accepts the accolade without apology. As a parent and then a grandmother, I understand that favoritism is appreciating specific personality features about each child. Want to play a game? Ask ED or Blue Boy. Want to discuss a book? YD or C-boy makes good company. Looking for a partner in adventure? No question it is Mowgli.
A child equates favoritism with love while adults know that love is a meta emotion that exists irrespective of the object’s personality or behavior. I am thankful that none of my offspring possesses obnoxious or sociopathic personalities except for the hopefully temporary teenage angst. So as Mowgli shoots eye darts across the dinner table and Blue Boy sulks, I know that I love them. And I know that each of them is my favorite.