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The child I love most; a mother answers an important question.

THE CHILD I LOVE MOST

A mother answers an important question.

"Mom, you love Carol most, don't you?"

I look up from the bills I am paying, wondering to myself, why at 3:30 in the afternoon my 14-year-old son, Tom, would ask that question. Stunned for a moment, I ask him the question again to be sure I understand what he is asking. Like many mothers, I have been known to answer when I have not fully heard or understood the question. He repeats it and he wants to know why I love his sister most.

Looking over to Carol, I think, "You better be honest with this kid, he's concerned, and he wants an answer."

Pushing the bills aside, I motion for Tom to sit down beside me, while I frantically think of a way to assure him, without hurting Carol.

"Tom," I said, stalling for time, thinking to myself that a phone call now would be helpful. "I don't understand how you could question my love for you."

"I know Mom," he says without conviction, "but you seem to love Carol more."

"Well Tom, let me explain it to you this way--I love you all most." Before he could respond with an attitude of being brushed off, I continue.

"You're right. I love Carol most; I love her most because she is my first born; the first child holds a very special place in a mother's heart. They are the "experiment" of more to come. They endure the trial and errors of parenting: the overprotectiveness, the sternness and the inexperience. I love her most because she is my only daughter, and she will someday be a woman, with whom I hope to have a friendship. I will always love her most.

"Tom, I love you most. You are the middle child; you are my first-born son. You are the child who I could relax with and enjoy; knowing that you weren't going to break, I could delight in your antics.

"You have a special place in my heart because you are a middle child. I can relate to that position in the family because I, too, am a middle child. I know the "too old, too young syndrome," having to wait while the youngest is cared for or the oldest is run with. I take you for granted, assuming that because you are the center of the entire family in your birth order, you are secure.

"I will try not to assume that in the future, and I will take into consideration the independence you must want and the frustrations you must feel. I take pride in you and who you are. You have the ability to love and stay loving under so many circumstances. I love you most.

"Tom, I also love John most. He is the youngest, his needs are greater than most. He is special, as you know, because his needs are needs that cannot wait. His life is centered around constant care and loving; he is dependent upon all of us for the very drink of water that we take for granted.

"I don't love John most because he is disabled; I love John most because he, himself, is a loving person who delights in every facet of his life. I love the way he trusts us to meet his needs without demanding, he trusts us as much as we should trust God to meet our needs. I love John the most because he teaches me to enjoy the simplicity of the day and to be thankful for the children we have who can run, jump, play, attain good grades, verbalize their joys and share their fears. I love John most for being a teacher to me.

"Tom, never doubt that I love you the most--not more, not less, than your sister and brother. I love you most. Each of you is a one-of-a-kind, limited edition that deserves in your own right to be loved most."

I look to Tom waiting for a response. He reaches over to hug me, then gets up and goes about his day.

PHOTO : John enjoys the Alaska climate.

PHOTO : John and Carol walk with their father.

PHOTO : Jo Koles, pictured above with her father, Thomas Cosgrove, is a free-lance writer and

PHOTO : mother of three children, Carol, 18, Thomas, 15, and John, 13, who has cerebral palsy,

PHOTO : epilepsy and a visual impairment. Jo and her husband, Justin, live in Anchorage, Alaska,

PHOTO : and are active boaters on Prince William Sound.
COPYRIGHT 1989 EP Global Communications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Koles, Jo
Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Date:Mar 1, 1989
Words:754
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