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About ten years ago, I lost all four of my grandparents within two years of each other. It was bittersweet in that there were countless memories shared among family members in such a short period of time while being covered by the blanket of sadness as well. Many of these memories were things I had never heard before. It was amazing to hear the things that will come out of the closet when a bunch of family who don’t normally see each other all that often are all gathered in one place.
One of the things that struck me, was in hearing my mom and her two sisters talk about their father. They each spoke of how their father always made them feel like they were “his favorite.” Each of his three children, his three daughters, were certain that they were daddy’s favorite, especially when they were growing up.
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This idea resonated with me – this “battle of the favorites.” I had only four children at the time, but I found this concept so remarkable. I saw their perception as perhaps the highest compliment that any child could ever pay to their parent. Oh that each of my kids would feel that they were my favorite.
That day I decided that this battle of the favorites would be something I would strive to create among my kids. My goal in that moment became making each of my kids know that they are loved so unconditionally to the point of being convinced that they are my favorite.
Fast forward to tonight when I was sitting with my Giggly Girl, and we were cooing along with our Little Prince. She turned to me and asked, “Did you coo along with me when I was a baby, too?”
Now, I like to joke around with my kids at times so I replied, “Nope, he’s my favorite. I only do this with him.”
She smiled with that sparkle in her eye that only eight year old Giggly Girl has and said, “Mom, I know that’s not true, I know that I’m your favorite,” said in the most serious of ways.
I knew there was no joking here. She was completely serious and then said for good measure, “Mom, I really do know that I’m your favorite. I can see it in your eyes when you look at me like you are right now.”
There. There in that moment, I saw just part of the gift that living intentionally can give. All those conversations in the car, all those moments shared curled up on the couch, all those times spent around the dinner table with all distractions far, far away were coming to fruition in that moment right there.
I suppose there is a time for both. I think I will bask in the glow of this sweet victory for a time, but then it will be time to face the cold, hard truth that I haven’t always gotten it right. Maybe I have captured the heart of Giggly Girl in these moments, but yet I have more work to do in reeling in one of the others.
Maybe I need to work harder to speak to the heart of Dancing Girl or to convince Skateboard Guy that he is deeply loved, but I will never know unless I ask.
I will bask in the glow of this beautiful victory, but I will remain focused on my mission to create a lively debate about who was my favorite when my overflowing quiver of children gather to remember me one day.
I hope this small honor bestowed upon me by my Giggly Girl reminds you, as it does me, that these intentional moments matter to your children. They see them. They feel them. They hear the beat of your heart in these intentional moments.
Keep on keeping on with me, and together we will create the foundation for the most amazing debate of “who was mom’s favorite” someday.