I'm going to reveal something to you.
I like my own kid best.
Yeah, I know. He's my child, of course I prefer him, he's my own, my family, my little boy whom I've nurtured since his arrival in the world. He's the one I have fed, and snuggled, and disciplined, and taught, and guided, and dressed. I've comforted him after nightmares, fought to put medicine in his mouth when he's sick, held him still for painful shots from nurses. Of course he's my favorite kid.
But I'm not talking parental love here. I love him dearly, but that's different. That's the love that God gives you for your child (or children), the all-consuming, protective love that grows bigger as needed. At least that's what I'm guessing, based on what I've heard from every other parent I know, and what I've heard about large families and about children who've grown up.
I'm talking here, though, about liking your kid. It's different. Of course you love your child. But I really, truly like my child. I like him better than any other kid in the world. And we know lots of great kids: nieces and nephews, my son's friends and classmates, children we've met at church, etc. There are hoards of wonderful, charming, very likable little people out there. I know some of them.
But I still prefer my own small guy. Maybe because I see little pieces of myself and my husband in his mannerisms and his speech. Maybe because I can think of countless examples of his kindness, times when he's thought of the well-being of others, observances he's made that required sensitivity and awareness. I can think of innumerable moments when I've simply been proud of him. (I can think of other times, too, when I wasn't so proud—but honestly, I can't recall too many.)
None of these observances are earth-shattering in depth or meaning. I'm guessing that many parents who pondered this subject would agree. But it all begs the question: Does every parent feel this way? I'm guessing that they don't, and that is sad to me. I'm not thinking of awful parents who abuse or mistreat their children. I'm thinking of parents who adore their kids, who care deeply for them like no one else could.
Are their some loving, caring parents who just honestly don't like their kid(s)? Is that possible?
I mean, there have to be kids who are vastly different from the people who are rearing them. There have to be examples of children who resemble not at all, in thought or deed, the people who are responsible for those children. Right?
I just don't know. It seems hard to believe, but it seems equally hard to believe that it never happens. I hope it doesn't, but I suspect that occasionally it does.
And if it does—what a shame, for everyone involved.