I’ve Always Loved You Best
It is normal for children to want assurance that they are loved. Having all the warmth of the Berlin Wall, I have always admired women who can reach out to pat their children and not have them flinch.
Feeling more comfortable on paper, I wrote the following for each of my children.
Dear First Born:
I’ve always loved you best because you were our first miracle. You were the genesis of a marriage and the fulfillment of young love. You sustained us through the hamburger years, the first apartment, our first mode of transportation (1955 Feet), and the seven-inch TV we paid on for 36 months. You were new, had unused grandparents, and enough clothes for a set of triplets. You were the original model for a mom and dad who were trying to work the bugs out. You got the strained lamb, the open safety pins and three-hour naps. You were the beginning!
Dear Middle Born:
I’ve always loved you the best because you drew a tough spot in the family and it made you stronger for it. You cried less, had more patience, wore faded hand-me-downs, and never in your life did anything first. But it only made you more special. You were the one we relaxed with, who helped us realize a dog could kiss you and you wouldn’t get sick. You could cross a street by yourself long before you were old enough to get married. And you helped us understand the world wouldn’t collapse if you went to bed with dirty feet. You were the child of our busy, ambitious years. Without you, we never could have survived the job changes and the tedium and routineness that is marriage.
To My Baby:
I’ve always loved you best because while endings are generally sad, you are such a joy!! You readily accepted the mild-stained bibs, the lower bunk, the cracked baseball bat, the baby book that had nothing written in it except a recipe for graham-cracker pie crust that someone had jammed between the pages. You are the one we held on to so tightly. You darken our hair, quicken our steps, squared our shoulders, restored our vision, and give us a sense of humor that security, maturity, and durability can’t provide. When your hairline takes on the shape of Lake Erie and your own children tower over you, you will still be our baby!!!
– Erma Bombeck