Notes On A Post
I evoked some strong feelings with the last line of my last post.
I'm a little surprised, but I shouldn't be.
One can never anticipate all the ways in which ones words will be construed. And there have been other posts of mine that went all wonky because something I said was misinterpreted. It's hard, in this medium, because there is no tone or facial experssion to help the reader infer meaning.
Really, I like it when a post sparks some thought and conversation.
So let me clarify.
First, I was absolutely being tongue in cheek.
I'm glad things are easy for my oldest son. Admittedly, as much for myself as for him. He's not nearly as challenging as Diminutive One, and never has been, even when adolescence reared it's ugly head. By nature, he's an easy going, affable, friendly and outgoing person. He's tall and slim, and naturally athletic. Girls love him. He's socially adept and popular.
He has ADD as well, but does well when he chooses to. We do struggle with motivation because he doesn't love school. But basically, he's an easy child to raise. And he's an easy child to be around.
So, resentment? No. Not on my part. But placing myself in Diminutive One's shoes, I worry that there will be some. He thinks his big brother has it all, and he has nothing. He can't see and appreciate his own gifts, which are numerous, because he's too busy coveting his brother's.
You see, I have the unique perspective of being both the perfect one, and the fuckup.
I know what it's like to feel like no matter what you do, or how hard you try, you will never be as good as the "perfect" one, and you'll never be the favorite. I know what it's like to wish that just once, the perfect one would screw up. To hope beyond hope that just once, she would be the one in disfavor. I know what it's like to want so desperately to be the "good" one, even if it's just for a moment; even if it's only because of her fall from grace. I know the turmoil of a love/hate relationship.
But having two sisters, I also know the pressures and frustrations of being the "perfect" one. While I have always perceived the sister closest in age to me as being the "perfect" one, my youngest sister perceives me this way.
I feel her contempt and resentment. I wish she could understand that my life is far, far, far from perfect. I wish she could understand that I don't think she should be like me, I just want her to have all the things she deserves. I know that no matter what I do, she will be bitter, and our relationship strained. That frustrates me and makes me feel sad.
I don't want that for my boys. I want them to love each other for who they are and not be sad or jealous. And I don't want to unconsciously foster the rivalry.
I know that's not a realistic expectation. Siblings will always be rivals, it's just the nature of the beast. And no matter how hard I try to be neutral, one will perceive me as favoring the other and vice versa.
But when you have two who are so vastly different, it's even more of a concern. When one breezes through life, and one struggles so mightily....I worry. A lot. For both of them.
Because being the perfect one isn't all it's cracked up to be. And being the screw up is no picnic either.
I think the only way to avoid the competetive dynamic is to only have one child.
OOPS. Too late.
So all I can do is to make sure each of them knows how much I love them, and how special they are as individuals. I can nurture their gifts and help them realize their potential and make sure that each of them in their own way are successful.
I hope that will be enough to keep the bitterness and resentment on both sides to a minimum. I hope that will spawn a love big enough to overcome the envy.
Maybe, one day, when I'm gone, and they're remembering me fondly (fingers crossed) they'll be having a discussion. And one of them will say..."Well, you always were Mom's favorite." And the other will say, "WHAT? You were Mom's favorite."
And then, looking down from my cloud, I'll know...that I screwed them both up equally.