When I was pregnant with Gray, son #2, I worried all the time that I wouldn’t like him that much. I knew I would love him and take care of him and all that is required by the laws of familial obligation, but actually liking him was another story. Bennett (son #1) was so full of awesomeness and likable qualities, I couldn’t imagine how I could possibly want to be around the second one nearly as often. We’d spent four years getting to know everything about little Bennett. This second child would be the interloper in our happy family.
I started to think that maybe having multiple children was really only for people who didn’t manage to do it right the first time and that I’d made a huge mistake embarking on the second when I clearly already had one who couldn’t possibly be topped. I began to pity my still gestating little one. It was really going to suck for him to grow up as the inferior child. Jason and I would have to roshambo for who would get to sit next to the good kid and the loser would be stuck with the lame #2. Right before he was born I even dreamed he came out with alligator scales and that I was repulsed by him.
Then Gray was born and the weirdest thing happened. It turned out he was somehow, unimaginably just exactly as likable and wonderful as my first. As soon as he was delivered and handed to me, I knew this. He exited my womb and promptly peed on the doctor and something clicked in my heart. I like him just as much. Just exactly as much.
When I was pregnant with Jonas I didn’t worry. By that time I got the formula. I understood why it works. You not only can just love them all exactly the same, but you do. Bennett is my favorite son. Gray is my favorite son. Jonas is (usually) my favorite son. I actually think it’s an argument in favor of polygamy. If I can love each one of my sons so completely and equally, why couldn’t I love three husbands the same way? (Don’t worry, Jason never reads my blog; he’ll never know I have aspirations of Big Love until I bring home the first Brother Husband.)
Sometimes I think back on when my boys were infants and toddlers and I realize I’ve forgotten little things about their childhoods. When did Bennett first start rolling over? How old was Gray when he lost his first tooth? I feel like I’ve been a poor Historian. I should have chronicled more. I should have taken better notes. Now those babies are gone and I’ve got little men here in their places.
I was thinking the other day about why each is my favorite child; what qualities make them better than the rest. I can’t imagine ever forgetting these amazing things about each one of my boys, but I know there was a time when I couldn’t imagine forgetting what it was like to see that very first smile on their faces, and now it’s nothing but a dim recollection.
So I decided I would write a totally ridiculous, sappy, self-involved blog post about what it is about each one of my boys during this 10th, 6th and 3rd year that makes me love them more than any other. This post is just for me. Now it’s here forever on the internet and in 10 years when my eldest is in college and I can’t remember what he was like when he was in 5th grade I can go back and read and remember. So here goes:
Bennett is my very favorite child. How could he possibly not be? He has this giant brain stuffed to the brim with facts about life and random things that could be of no interest to 90% of the population. Sometimes he talks so much without stopping I have to say to him, “Bennett, I no longer want to be having a conversation about Spiderman and which characters are from the comic books and which the stage adaptation just invented. If you want to continue to converse with me (and by ‘converse with me’, I mean ‘chatter on endlessly in my direction’) the topic must shift to something I’m interested in. Would you like to discuss your girlfriend, Christina?” It’s the only way to quiet him. I have this feeling Jason feels like this about me sometimes.
Bennett got an essay back from his English teacher this week. She wrote in red ink on the back, ‘I like the voice. It’s sarcastic. Kind of like you.’ This prompted me to wonder if sarcasm is a quality you get by nature or nurture. Either way the kid was screwed. Smart and always with a witty retort, that’s Ben. I have this feeling it’s going to get him in trouble eventually, but I can’t help but love him for and despite it.
Gray is my very favorite child. Gray was born with a burning desire to create. A good friend of ours is moving out of state and purging craft supplies to be ready for the move. She sent a box of fabric, paints, scissors and yarn to my boys for arts and crafts projects. When we opened the box and saw what it was (and that it wasn’t a box of toys from Grandma Linda), Bennett and Jonas shrugged their shoulders and went back to their daily activities. Gray, on the other hand, was utterly entranced. He dug into the box and spent hours cutting and gluing and making patterns with differently shaped hole punchers. He sat silently across the table from me making his art while I worked at my laptop.
Gray is the emotionally reserved type. He loves animals and things that grow. Bennett loves to read about facts in books, but Gray loves to observe the world and figure out just how it works on his own. He’s going to build and make beautiful things with his hands some day. And some girl is going to love him for his freckles and his artistic sensibility, despite the fact that he can’t discuss with her how he’s feeling at the moment. Just like I love his father.
Jonas is my favorite child. No really, he is. I know I love to tell stories about what a chaotic tornado of energy he is and how he destroys everything in his path. He exhausts me and I think it’s possible the uptick in wine sales at the grocery store nearest us can be traced back to around the time he was born. But dang, do I adore that kid. This story probably sums up best why I love everything about him. He’s ingenious at 3 (and insanely handsome to boot). I can only imagine he’s going to rule the world by 35.