"Tell me the truth, Mom. You really like me best, don't you?"
I've heard a version of that question more times than I could count. Even with two daughters raised to the adult ages of 27 and 30, it still spills out occasionally, albeit in slightly different and somewhat disguised form.
"How many presents are in your pile, Bess?"
"Mom's spending Thanksgiving with me again."
"Who'd you call first, Mom?"
"But I gave her a grandson."
I've often envied the parents of an only child who don't have to waste time on this senseless and unanswerable question.
Or, at least I used to, until I read about the dad who admitted in a public forum that he liked his four year old son better than his two year old son because the four year old was more fun to play ball with.
He just jumped right out there like it was a question that could be answered based on something as simple as who's more fun for dad.
If only I had known that that was the measuring stick. I could have stopped all those silly questions right in their tracks.
"Who wants to play Scrabble?"
"Bridge, anyone? First one here is my forever favorite."
There would have been no need for the discussions about unlimited and unconditional love, of the different qualities that I admired in each of the girls, how sometimes one daughter needed a little more attention than the other, or how I would always love them both the "best."
We could have moved seamlessly on to that other topic that took up almost equal time.
"It's not fair, MOM!"
And I'd have an answer for that one too.
"No, girls, it's not. But life's not fair. Some kids get a dad who just doesn't have a clue."