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Can I Ask You a Question?

Lucy lay in the bathtub completely immersed, except for her face, and hidden under a thick layer of bubbles.  “Gran,” she said, “can I ask you a question?”  This from my 10-year-old Grand who once asked, “Gran, how does a baby get in Mommy’s tummy?”  Who once said, “Don’t you think belly buttons look funny?”  Who often asks riddles. 

            “Yes,” I answered, “what’s your question?”  Will it be frivolous?  A question that makes me laugh? A question her mother could better answer?

            My Grand grinned.  “Am I your favorite?”

            Favorite among eight Grands? How can I have one favorite? I measured my words.  “Lucy, you are my favorite right this moment.” 

            “But, am I your favorite all the time?”

            Fairness led my response. “Let’s think about that. How would your brothers and sisters and cousins feel if I had one favorite all the time?”

            My Grand sat up  and soap bubbles fell from her shoulders. She named her two brothers, her two sisters.  “They said I’m your favorite.”  She threw a challenge.

            “They’re right.  You are.  You’re here and we’re together.”

            “But,” she again challenged.

            “No but.  And…..” I let the word drag.  “When others are here or need help or a hug, then they are my favorites.  You’ll always be a favorite. Right now, you are my very favorite!”  My Grand giggled and slipped back under the water.

             Thinking back to being 10-years-old, I know how it feels to be a favorite.  I was the favorite of my parents, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles because I was the only daughter, only granddaughter, only niece.  I wore that invisible badge of honor and love with pride and confidence.

            Years ago, Erma Bombeck, a syndicated newspaper columnist from 1965-1996, wrote about a mother having a favorite child.  ‘Every mother has a favorite child. The one with whom I share a special closeness, with whom I share a love no one can possibly understand.’ 

            Bombeck explained that her favorite child messed up during a piano recital, ran the wrong way with the football, had measles at Christmas, had a fever in the middle of the night.  Her favorite child was selfish, bad-tempered, and self-centered.  She wrote that a mother’s favorite child is the one who needs her at the moment for whatever the reason – to cling to, to shout at, to hug, to flatter, to unload on – but mostly to be there.

            Bombeck’s words have always stuck with me.  Because I have one daughter and one son, it’s easy to say each is my favorite.  But how can I say I have a favorite Grand?  Children – no, everyone – needs to be a favorite.  Needs to know that someone loves and treasures them above all others.

            I’ve replayed Lucy’s and my conversation and wish I’d answered with one word.  “Yes!”  Wish I’d not tried to be diplomatic and fair. Wish I’d not tried to explain.            

Lucy is my all-time favorite, as are her brothers, her sisters, her cousins.

One Response

  1. And you are my favorite ❤️

    Kat Rust Bobkatsr@gmail.com

    >

    Liked by 1 person

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