Sunday, October 7, 2012

Favorite Child

The question, "Do I have a favorite child?" came up this week. But my kids didn't even press me for an answer. Guess they assume I love them equally with infinity love. And I do! But it got me thinking... do I have a favorite?

My twelve-year-old had an accident recently that hiked-up my love level. (Injured kids do that to me.) Thinking a steak knife a good way to pry open a box, he sliced open his left hand. And out came my soothing mom chant: "It's okay. Just a cut. You're fine. Let's have a look. Honey, you're alright."

However, the chant I was thinking: "You're not okay. It's a bad cut. I don't want to have a look. Honey, we should go to urgent care." But once I got the bleeding to stop, we put off urgent care until the morning. Turns out you can't do that. Stitches need to go in within eight hours of injury. Oops.

The whole thing really scared him. I wish it happened to me instead. All the what-to-do? thoughts came to mind - apply pressure, elevate, don't say "gross." But the two things (the two people) that did not come to mind were my daughters. In that one moment, it was my son who took first place. He was my main focus. He was my favorite.

Oh, but how things get switched around. The very next day, the "texts" started coming in again. Thing is, my oldest daughter has no problem communicating to me - between Geometry and Choir, during lunch, and a sneak-text in English - that she's worried about something. And whether she gets a "snap out of it" text from me or an "all will be well, baby girl," she takes center stage in my thoughts regardless. She then becomes my main focus. My favorite.

I don't know, though - favorite? Maybe I'm confused about the meaning of the word. Because according to Julie Andrews, favorite things are raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, not cut-open and worried children.

But being the forever faith/life paralleler-er, I see an analogy of this "favorite child" thing in Matthew 18:12-14. It's about a shepherd who leaves his flock of 99 sheep - safe and sound sheep - to go searching for one who strayed away.

And when he finds the one lost sheep, did he spank its butt? No. Lecture it? No. Say, "Who do you think you are!?" No. Rather, did he love it deeply - individually - and rejoice because he found it? Yes and YES! Hmmm, could it be, in that moment, the lost little lamb was his favorite?

So sure, my son wasn't going "astray" or anything when he cut his hand. But he did become a quick favorite of mine. And having experience with my own daughter's neediness via texting, I think it's safe to say - if God were a texting God - I'd become a favorite of his as I send my needy-Molly texts heavenward.

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