As a parent, do you like one of your kids more than you like the other? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
"You always liked Daniel more than us! You loved him more and I KNOW IT", my 17 year old daughter screamed through her tears. Her brother had been dead a week, and this is what she thought.
I felt sick to my stomach.
Holding my head in my hands from my own grief, I thought, "This can't be happening". On top of everything else, my daughter just told me that she believed she and her brother had not been loved as much as the brother who had just died.
Where did I go wrong? I gave them so much of my life, love, and time while their older brother got less of me because he spent weekends with his own father.
Could it be true? Did I love my first son more?
Over the next six months, where on my best days I was able to crawl out of bed despite my numbing sadness, I contemplated continually the words my daughter screamed through her broken heart.
I went over as many memories as I could to see if I could attribute her exclamation towards me as true. I was more than confident and more than convinced each child received from me 100% of what I had each day. That's 300%. I knew I couldn't have done anymore.
Yet, something was still nagging at me...was she right after all?
I knew when I had first fallen in love. It was when I first saw my firstborn's face. It was just him and me as as we fought our way to survive as a single mother and toddler.
As he grew, I watched him emerge into a limitless boy full of humor and curiosity, and I just loved him so much. His presence filled my life.
But with the births of my next two children, I fell in love with them too, each for their wonderful unique qualities. They both enamored me as they grew into remarkable human beings.
But sometimes, yes, there is that one child that we just "get" more than the others, and it's because though unique, they are similar in personality as us. It does not mean we love and like them more. There just seems to be more of a connection in understanding them, and I think this is what she sensed. Also, in my grief, I could not stop thinking about him and she viewed this as liking him more than the others.
She's grown now and I see now she was pleading through her tears that she was scared over losing her sibling. She now sees how special she and her brother are to me in ways she is just learning to understand as she raises her own child -but I have always felt badly that she had ever thought such a thing. I frankly don't think she even remembers saying it ... But I do.