My sister, an amazing mother, has two wonderful children. One day, before I had kids of my own, she pulled me aside and said, “Jocelynn, you are favoring one of my children over the other. I won’t allow it. They are equal. You can love them equally, yet differently. Either you will do this, or I won’t let you be around them. Kids can tell.”
What? I was completely taken aback. I wasn’t favoring one child over the other… was I? Then I thought about it. REALLY thought about it. She was right. I didn’t want to stop being around my niece and nephew. I loved them very much. I had to do a heart check. Figure out what the heck was going on, and stop being led by my emotions.
On a very basic level I understood what she was saying from experiences in my own childhood. I began to think back on all the times I could tell people were favoring one of my siblings over me. Man, did it hurt. As adults it’s tough to process why someone doesn’t like us. As a child, you certainly don’t understand it. You think, “What’s wrong with me?”
As a teacher I had always made it a point not to favor one child over the other. If I felt myself swaying toward one, I would quickly check myself because I remember the feeling of rejection. Why then, was it easy to allow favoritism to creep in between my nephew and niece? Neither is more lovable, more kind, more right, more good. They are kids. Equal in innocence right now. Both wanting to be loved and accepted by their aunt.
Fast forward three years later, I am a mother of two wonderful children and I UNDERSTAND what my sister saw that day. I understand why she hurt. Why she pulled me aside and made it very clear what she would NOT allow.
As a parent you hurt for, and with your children. It tears me up inside when I take my son to the playground and the other children won’t play with him. When his sad face looks at me and asks, “Why won’t they be my friend, Mommy?” It takes everything for me not to cry.
What’s even worse, is when you see adults choose one of your children over the other. Now, listen, I know that life isn’t fair. Everybody can’t like everybody, but while my kids are young and can’t understand, while I can still be somewhat in control of who influences them… Jesus be a fence.
If God does not show favoritism, who am I to pick and choose based on … nothing. Heart check.
All through my second pregnancy I talked to my husband about this concept of favoritism. I didn’t want people to forget about Jace because the new baby was here. I didn’t want people to ignore the new baby because of a relationship that had already been developed with Jace.
But wait, what about me? So many second time parents wonder how they can love another child as much as their first. I too, wondered how. I love Jace so much. He is my first baby. His first breath breathed a love into me like I had never felt before. So, how? How would I love both children equally? How would I not show favoritism? I began to pray and ask God to show me. He did.
During the first trimester of my second pregnancy I was crazy sick. I couldn’t take care of Jace and my husband couldn’t keep taking off work. I had to move into my parents house for support. During that time I watched my sister, an AMAZING mother, with two wonderful children of her own, invite my Jace into the fold like he was her own. I mean complete love given to my child. At times I heard him call her Mommy. It made my heart smile.
So, when my daughter was finally born and it was my turn to share love, I did. My heart filled with love. More love. A love that I wanted to immediately share with my son. Having a home birth, I was able to let him hold his sister, love his sister, comfort his sister immediately. I thought my heart would break for loving those two so much.
And then, what really did it for me was watching my sister, an amazing mother with two wonderful children of her own, love my children both EQUALLY. I was incredibly thankful that day for her example. For her love. I am so blessed to be able to share this journey of motherhood with her.