There probably isn’t a parent alive with more than one child who won’t someday have the experience I had last night. What I am referring to is having one of your children accuse you of not loving them as much as you love their sibling. Funnily enough, as the fourth of five children myself, it was considered fact that my mother loved my older sister more than the rest of us and yet I don’t remember it ever being an issue. I knew my mother loved all of us, but my sister was easier going than the rest of us and I think on some level it just made sense to me that the two of them had a special bond.
Fast forward to present day and my own children. I can honestly say that I love all three of my children equally. Each one of them are fascinating and, of course, very different individuals. Last night it was the girls who came to blows. The older one allowed things the younger one had said to get under her skin and not only was she tired of it, but she felt I wouldn’t do anything about it. When I called the younger one in to discuss what was going on, she went from defensive to hurt. She accused me of loving her sister more and as I admitted to her, I know she feels that way. I hate that she does, but I know for her, as wrong as it may be, she truly feels that. You see, like my sister, her sister is the calmer, more level headed one. I can honestly say that she doesn’t get it from me.
So, I held my younger daughter and promised her that just because her sister and I don’t have the same conflicts that she and I have, it certainly doesn’t mean that I love her any less. I did my best to let her know that she is every bit as special while also telling her that her words can cut deeper than she knows. She insisted that the things she’d said to her sister were just a joke, but they weren’t taken that way. I hate that any of my kids have to feel devalued for even so much as a second, and yet I know it is inevitable. You can only protect them so much. I am incredibly grateful, however, that I can hold them in my arms and make them feel better.