Beth Smith


All of my kids are home right now.
Brittney is visiting from Utah where she is finishing up her Master’s in Education. She’ll be a high school English teacher.
Chelsea came back home after her relationship ended. She’s planning on being here for about 2 months so she can save up for an apartment deposit.
Maggie and Ryan are here for at least another 8 years, because, you know, they aren’t old enough to be on their own.

Having everyone home has given me some opportunity to pause and reflect on the last almost 25 years. Brittney will be 25 in April.

My kids are so different from each other. Different in their physical build, different in their tempraments, different in how they view the world and how they approach problems.
Over the years, even up to as recently as last night, I have heard murmurings among them about whether I treat them all the same. Do I have favorites. Is it fair.
Now that I have 2 adult children and two who will be home for a long time I can analyze these things in a way that I couldn’t even when Brittney and Chelsea were teenagers. And here’s what I want to say about the whole thing. It isn’t fair but it is just.
How can you treat them all the same? How can everyone have the same consequences? Some consequence that might be horrific for one kid may have no effect on another one. Each one has different interests. So how can a treat for one be the same as a treat for another?
It’s funny but that “it’s not fair” has caught me off guard and introduced some guilt many times in the past. Not anymore.
I do have a favorite. The favorite is the one who is making me smile at the time. The favorite is the one who is not currently causing me to worry. The favorite is the one who is working hard and trying hard and being responsible. The favorite is the one I am currently worried about. The favorite is the one who needs a bit of a speech to help him/her see the error of his ways or why we don;t behave that way in our family. The favorite is the one who is reading quietly and the one who needs a bit of encouragement to practice reading.
The favorite is Chelsea because she has made so much progress and come such a long way in the last 2 years and has become a talented dyer and has learned about how much her family truly loves her.
The favorite is Brittney because of all that she has accomplished in the last 6 years. For her earnest interest in the world around her and a desire to help and work to help students attain their goals.
The favorite is Maggie because of her interest ins textiles and arts and her desire to learn everything she can. For her clever wit and easy going nature.
And the favorite is Ryan for the way he is a friend to everyone. How he can meet a person and suck them into his light saber dueling and story telling. For his happy and loving way of looking at life.
How could I choose just one child? How could I?
Sentimental a bit? Why yes, please.

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