I have a unique bond with my middle child and yesterday (chronicled in “My Dance with my Sugarplum”) made me really think about it. I’ve always thought that the closeness we have and the love I have for her that is different from the love I have for my other children developed over time as we struggled through her infancy (more about that in “The Scream Heard Around the Neighborhood.”) But I realized yesterday that it’s always been there, before the screaming, before the fits, before the worry, before it all.
It started the moment I first saw her. I vividly remember scooping her out of the water after she was born and pulling her to my chest, saying, “my baby, my baby! I love, love, love, love, love you!” And I did. And I have.
It’s not that I love her more than Honeybun and Doodle, because I don’t. It’s that I love her differently. I truly love each of my children equally but in their own, special way yet there is something unexplainable with Sugarplum. Perhaps it truly did start in those first moments, when maybe we were both taken by surprise by her unexpectedly speedy arrival (which I liken to her shooting out of me like a cannon).
I think it is natural for people (that includes mommies) to have favorites. As a teacher I’ve always maintained that is was fine to have favorites so long as I treat everyone the same. And I’m not saying I have a favorite child, and I’m definitely not saying it’s Sugarplum, because honestly, a lot of the time she pushes me to the edge (like yesterday). It may not be more than my other two, but it is definitely more intense.
She pushes me to a point of exhaustion, frustration, and even questioning everything I believe in as a mommy. With the other two, I’m confident. I can hold my own, I can justify, explain, and believe in my choices but with Sugarplum I often feel helpless, useless and completely inadequate.
It’s no secret that every child is different, but Sugarplum is like no child I’ve ever known or experienced before.
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