Equal, sure. But definitely not the same. When I think of each of them, it summons feeling as distinct as each of their personalities. My relationship with each is so different, as is my love.
First, there is my son.
My love for him is fierce and primal. Like a mama bear who had to ward off the wild things to keep her cub safe. I fought for him – through a darkness and pain I still don’t know the depths of. My love for him is made even more radiant by my pride. I have never been so proud of someone or something in all of my life. And then, even more than pride, I’m inspired by him. My walk through the darkness is no comparison to his, and yet his smiles still come easily. He exudes joy and personality and kindness. Innocence should have been stricken from my sweet boy and yet he held onto it with a strength I can do nothing but sit in awe in. But there is also so much unknown. He is the biggest mystery to me of all my children. Having still been without us longer than with, we had no control over so much of his experiences, memories, and personality formation. It scares me to think of what he’s lived through. It’s scary to be a mother to a child and not fully know what they are thinking, feeling, and are capable of. Still, he is my son and I am his rock. Together, we will weather anything.
Then there is my middle child. My first daughter.
My only introvert. My most familiar child. From the first moment I looked into her eyes, I knew her. Every movement, every sound, every twinkle in her eye, and every tear that runs down her cheek, I know why and where and how. There is such a bond in knowing her better than anyone else. I often forget that she didn’t come from me. My pint-sized soulmate. She is independent, opinionated – filled with equal parts imagination and insight. Even in the way that she challenges me and drives me crazy, she fills my heart with joy. I think its accurate to say that she’s responsible for most of my belly laughs…and gray hairs too.
Last, but never ever least, is my youngest – my baby.
My love for her is humble and grateful in a way I can’t begin to share with you in words. As you may recall, she is the child we prayed for for years. Injections, doctors, negative after negative, and so many tears. The phone call announcing her birth came at the lowest time of my life. She saved me. She is the light in the darkness and the hope when all had been lost. Because of her, I will forever believe. A true miracle baby. And as she has grown, she continues to be the light of our family. That place of peace and calm and ease. She is my daily prayer of thanksgiving and without her, I could never be complete.
So no, I don’t love my children the same and I’m really glad for that.