I always thought Mom liked my sister better. She’s the older one and I always seemed to catch them in conversations that didn’t include me. When that happened, I silently crept into my sister’s room and ransacked her drawers to learn more of who she was and what she did. And I’d get punished for it by both of them.
My younger daughter thinks I like her sister better. She says she always catches me in conversations that don’t include her. She never ransacked drawers but she stormed off, pouting about our “disconnection.” Now I understand my own mother better. She raised two very different children, and so did I. But my younger daughter still believes I love her sister better, and no amount of convincing will change her mind. The older one was born four years before the younger one. And she spoke so early that, in truth, we’ve had conversations of solid worth since she was just past the age of two. She’s wise and funny and we have our “in” jokes.When number two came along, I was more relaxed about being a mother and enjoyed cuddling and loving her while I conversed with number one. She observed it all but did not bring up the subject of “favoritism until she was about three. She was also very conversational, and I did spend “alone” time with her when the older daughter was in school and she was still at home. She’d ask, “Mom, why do you like Jenn better?”
And I’d be shocked to find that I didn’t have an answer to give her. I didn’t “like” Jenn better, but I must admit that our conversations were different than the ones I had with Laura. And the only answer I could provide was that I didn’t like either of them “better,” but I honestly do relate to them differently.
Put it this way. Jenn is a socializer. She loves to move among friends and colleagues the way a dance instructor moves among the students—fleet of foot, with great abandon. Laura is a visionary who looks at individuals with a keen eye of discernment. She doesn’t “flit” anywhere…she moves with calculation and enjoys those who fit in her inner circle with great love and devotion.
I adore them both. They adore each other. I try to convince Laura that I love her every bit as much as Jenn, because I do, but it doesn’t sink in. My mother is long gone so I cannot ask her the same question: “Did you prefer my sister over me?” Friends of mine, who are second children, seem to want to know if that is true, as well. They tell me that they have had the same experience, personally and with their second child, especially if the children were of the same sex.
I will continue to tell Laura that birth order changes the way a parent defines the relationship and relates to each child as an individual, but in my estimation, I absolutely could not love one better.
They are my darling girls. They love well and are devoted to Jay, me and each other. They both have made great friends of those who know them well. I just wish Laura knew this much about me.
I’m a friend of hers, too.