Saturday, 27 August 2016
You’re Not My Favourite—I Lied by Naomi Elana Zener
Dearest Darling One,
We spent forty weeks cohabitating, getting to know each other as I grew each one of your eyes, arms, ears, toes, nostrils, organs, and everything else in between top to toe—it was a magical time. I was growing a human inside of me, whom I loved from the moment the pink stick turned blue. I often wondered if you’d be a boy or a girl (we didn’t want to know what we were having), what colour hair and eyes you’d have, and whether you’d be a mini-me or petit-papa. All I could think about was how I’d have fun bonding with you while I played host to your alien self, something your father would never get to do since I was your gestational carrier providing you with a safe long-term tenancy inside my tummy. When you hiccupped, I vomited. With each kick, I got rib contusions. And, every time you twisted and turned, I farted. I farted a lot during those splendiferous forty weeks. When you finally emerged to greet the world, we got to wear matching diapers, except there was no Big Bird on mine. Nothing could’ve prepared me for that wonderful gift. At least our outfits were coordinated. But, none of that mattered—I was your mom and you were my child, and life would never be the same.
Same—it never was again. You grew beautifully, developed monumentally, and before I knew it, you were older, yet somehow I hadn’t aged a day. You rolled, sat, crawled, cruised, walked, and finally spoke. First, it was darling words like “Dada,” which preceded “Mama” despite my having been your primary caregiver—thanks for that. You brought me back to the days of my wild late adolescence and early twenties of staying up all night, except, instead my hangover the following morning was due to sleep deprivation instead of sipping on some gin with my juice. And, like Lionel Ritchie, you partied ‘all night long.’ Soon, your simple words grew more adult in nature, and before I knew it, you’d mastered sharing cute little turns of phrase—my favourite being when you’d tell me that you are my favourite child. You’re brilliant, gorgeous, generous, kind, funny, and the light of my life. Imbued with such traits, why wouldn’t you think you’re my favourite? On paper, you’re the package deal.
Although I know you think that you’re the one whom I hold in higher esteem than the other fruits of my loins whom you call your siblings, we need to cut the crap and get something straight; you are most definitely not my favourite kid. Don’t get me wrong, I do love you—each and every one of you—I am your mother for Chrissakes. But, why you’d think I prefer you over your siblings is an anathema to me. It’s not like you walk around with a hallowed halo shining above your head. Perhaps you think you’re my favourite because of your birth order, or think that because it’s too early for you to have crashed a car, stolen cash from my wallet, come home past curfew, or brought home more Ds on your report card than found on the tag inside my oversized mommy bra, but I want you to know that there’s no way you’re my favourite kid.
You burp. You fart. You swear. You say inappropriate things at the most opportune times—like that time at the supermarket checkout when you told the cashier to shove a quarter up her ass, or when you advised the waiter pouring you more milk instead of the pop you requested that he’s an asshole. You fail to walk the dog when I tell you, leaving me to discover a nice pile of shit on the kitchen floor when I go in there to make you dinner. I’m your cook, your maid, your therapist until I can afford to send you to one, your seemingly bottomless bank account, and punching bag when you’re angry. The “I don’t love you” never stops burning a hole in my ear. None of these things make mommy super proud of your verbosity. Rather, it makes me want to dig a deep hole to bury myself in each time these ‘incidents’ happen. Your cuddles are wonderful when you decide to be all sugar and spice and everything nice, but these days they are in short supply. While your scholastic aptitude leaves me with plenty to brag about, I prefer to remain mum, for the absolute tyranny with which you lord your achievements over my head in the hopes that I will reward you in some fashion—say perhaps with a car or new iPad—leaves me wishing you’d been more of a dumbass. And, don’t get me started on your friends. There’s the one who is always at our house eating our food. Nary a day goes by, when I don’t see that familiar tuchus jutting out of our fridge with its matching rotund face shoved deep inside foraging for some good eats that are clearly lacking at his house. Or, the one who calls at all hours because her parents are raising her to be their ‘friend’ instead of child, giving her a life free from limits and boundaries because goodness knows she’s never going to encounter any or the word ‘no’ in her life. I’m waiting for you to bring home one who gets straight As, always minds their Ps and Qs in our house, helps clear dishes, tells clean jokes, and is a pleasure to be around.
At the end of the day, you’re your own remarkable you, whom I do love and adore. But, quit prodding me to tell you that you’re my favourite, and stop goading your siblings with tales of how I’ve told you that you are. These lies will only lead to a future full of many hours on a psychiatrist’s couch deriding me when you’re an adult. The bottom line is this: I LOVE YOU. You’re my kid and I wouldn’t trade you for any other person or thing in the world. I love you for who you are, not for what you’re not, and I won’t love you more if you changed. Over time new challenges will present themselves in our dynamic, ever-evolving relationship, but right now and forever more, if you walk away from reading this with one clear, succinct message, it is simply this: you are not my favourite child.
Your loving mother
P.S. In case any of my other kids are reading this, consider yourself the ‘Dearest Darling One’ to whom this letter is addressed. I favour none of you above the other.
P.P.S. April Fool’s (even if it’s not the right date)! Each one of you is my favourite. It’s your dad who’s not. Love you lots. XOXOXO
© 2016. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.