I started eliminating all kinds of unneeded items in my home earlier this year, and I’m still investing time in that process. Yesterday, I was sorting through a stack of forgotten papers and found something I wanted to share. I’m not sure where this paper came from (I recall it first surfacing by falling out of a hand-me-down book that went out of print in the ’80s) or the author, but this writing from a fellow mother of three resonated with me. It also brought back memories of hearing my husband’s grandfather telling him he couldn’t choose a favorite, but if he could, he would choose Matt. Matt didn’t realize until adulthood that Grandpa told every grandchild the same.
I’ve Loved You Best, Because…
Dear First Born,
I’ve always loved you best because you were our first miracle. You were the genesis of a marriage and the fulfillment of young love. You sustained us through the hamburger years, the first apartment (furnished in early poverty), our first mode of transportation (the “Junker”), and the 7-inch tv we paid on for 36 months.
You were new, had un-used grandparents, and enough clothes for a set of triplets. You were the original model for a mom and a dad who were trying to work the bugs out. You got the strained lamb, the open safety pins and three-hour naps.
You were the beginning.
Dear Middle Child,
I’ve always loved you best because you drew a tough spot in the family and it made you stronger for it. You cried less, had more patience, wore faded hand-me-downs, and never in your life did anything first. But it only made you more special.
You were the one we relaxed with and realized a dog could kiss you and you wouldn’t get sick. You could cross a street by yourself long before you were old enough to get married. And you helped us understand the world wouldn’t collapse if you went to bed with dirty feet.
You were the child of our busy, ambitious years. Without you, we never could have survived the job changes and the tedium and routine that is marriage.
To The Baby,
I’ve always loved you best because while endings are generally sad, you are such a joy. You readily accepted the milk-stained bibs, the lower bunk, the cracked baseball bat, the baby book that had nothing written in it except a recipe for graham cracker pie crust that someone had jammed between the pages.
You are the one we hold on to so tightly. You are the link with our past, a reason for tomorrow. You darken our hair, quicken our steps, square our shoulders, restore our vision, and give us a sense of humor that security, maturity, and durability can’t provide.
When your hairline takes on the shape of Lake Huron and your own children tower over you, you will still be our baby.