The Boy (3 1/2 year old grandson) and I have our little rituals. When he was younger I always called him my favorite boy when I hugged him. As he got a little older I asked him, “Are you my favorite boy?” He would grin and nod but not say anything. On the last visit, he replied, “Gramma, I’m always your favorite boy!”
On a side note, when his mother asks him if he is her favorite boy, he says, “No, Gramma’s my favorite boy.”
He’s too young to get all the generations and relationships straightened out, but his daddy’s my favorite boy as well.
Our other fun ritual we invented ourselves, using his favorite heard-from-adults words:
Me: By the way . . .
Him: By the way . . .
Me: Anyway . . .
Him: Anyway . . .
Me: Actually . . .
Him: Actually . . .
Me: I love you very much!
Him: I love you very much! (big grin, a hug, and a giggle)
We’ve been doing this for a few months. He began by repeating the words after me. Then he progressed to saying them with me. Now he starts the litany himself, getting to the end before I do. And he’s changed the last sentence to “I love you very muchee!” I match my words to his.
Now I have questions for all of us:
Who is your favorite?
Whose favorite are you?
Knowing you are someone’s favorite is critical to our development and our sense of self worth. It doesn’t matter how many favorites the other person has. It just matters that, in the moment, I am the favorite. They give me their attention. They are interested in what I have to say. They do little things, just for me. We share time and space and words and stories. Safely. Without fear. Knowing we are loved, no matter what.
Turn the tables. Because I know what it feels like to be a favorite, how can I offer that to others? Even if you’ve never had the feeling of being a favorite, can you imagine what it would be like and offer your imaginings to another? In my adult world, I know I’m a favorite, when . . .
the other person listens
the other person looks me in the eye when talking
we enjoy a spontaneous cup of tea
the condition of our houses goes unnoticed
counsel is offered with no expectations
we respect our differences
we, together, have created a safe space to be
we know we are loved no matter what
As a young child, I knew I was loved, no matter what. I believed there was nothing I could do that would prevent my parents from “taking me in.” Though there were many opportunities for my improvement, their love and acceptance was key. I knew it, not so much from their words, but from their actions.
Was I my parents’ favorite? Who knows. I was the only girl so that may have helped my case. One on one, they treated me as though I was the most important child to them. I’m sure they did the same for my two brothers.
My questions remain:
Whose favorite are you? How do you know?
Who is your favorite? How do you show it?
Until next Tuesday . . .