I Am No Longer My Child’s Favorite…
I know what you’re going to say… “but you’re his mom, you will always be his favorite”, and to that, I say “you’re partly correct.” Yes, I am his mom, but I will not always be his favorite person. In a way, it is preparing me for a future where I will naturally let go of my son so he can begin his own journey- whether it is going to a weekend slumber party with his friends, off to college with a big move across the country if he chooses, or more than likely, with his new wife and a life of his own. The point is, this is the first time I haven’t been the one he runs to when he wants love and attention and in part, this feels like my fault.
I knew that both of us going to school would limit our time together. During the days, we don’t have our adventures together and somedays in the evenings, I am not there for bathtime or bedtime. Something so precious to me is reading with Mark. I love that he will bring me books and ask me to read to him. Unfortunately, I don’t do it enough.
Mark’s favorite person, at the moment, is his dad- Travis. Travis works during the day while Mark is at school and in the evenings, he is the one to play with Mark and do bathtime, and put him to bed. For the longest time, I was the “default parent”. I did it all and I miss that. I miss that so so so so so much.
I took for granted all of the time we had to explore together. “Babies don’t keep”, they say, and boy were they right. I feel like it is my fault for no longer being the favorite for a number of reasons. I wonder if it’s because I am the one to “get on” him for misbehaving. I wonder if it’s because I am no longer around ALL THE TIME like I used to be. Sometimes I take it personally and feel like my three-year-old simply hates me. Other times, I wonder if it’s just the natural order of things. The latter is the most likely answer.
But I still can’t seem to shake this feeling of an identity struggle, as silly as that sounds. I wonder if my journey to become just Brittany again, has somehow clashed with my identity as “mom” and I wonder if the two could somehow coexist harmoniously. If they can’t, which one comes out on top? Does my struggle to be the best version of myself I can somehow overpower my greatest desire, want, need, and dream of being the best mom I can be?
Is it a daily battle? Where not one version is the winner of the war? Is there a very fine line that I have to walk to be both? Is that what Travis does? How can I do that? Or is it just the natural order of things? Babies don’t keep. As he grows older, I will have to take the back seat. I knew it was coming. I thought I had more time before I made my way there though.
For the first time in my son’s life, I am no longer the favorite. For as much as that hurts, I love watching the bond he and his father have together. They bring out a playful side in one another. It is amazing to watch this logical, Spock-like man (yeah, I went there), behave like a three-year-old. He puts away the work, the AWS talk, and business, and turns into a kid (with lunch and dinners to match that age) to play with Mark and it is a sight to see.
I think it just happens to be the natural order of things. As a woman of both faith and science, who am I to question the natural order of things? Whether it’s God’s timing or biology’s natural order- it’s out of my hands so to speak. My time to be the favorite will come around again. Until then, I am just so happy I get a front-row seat to every single event and milestone in his life. I will always be his greatest supporter and biggest fan. I’ll ride shotgun in his life again someday, but right now I get to cruise in the backseat, with the windows down and the breeze blowing in my hair.