It was a familiar scene. Having just sided with one of the brothers in a heated dispute involving the high stakes game of mini-van seat selection, I was accused by the other brother of the ultimate injustice:
“You love him more than me!”
“No. I don’t,” I countered immediately. “I love you both THE SAME.”
But I don’t — not really.
I had defended myself with these words countless times before, almost involuntarily without really testing the sentiment. At best, it is a half truth. I love my boys immensely, but I do not love them the same. In fact, I love them very differently. Call it parental heresy, but it is impossible to have identical feelings for two very different human beings. All spawn are not created equal; and my guys are loved accordingly.
My love for Noah is incredibly intense. Every feeling I have for him, both good and bad, is super-sized. For both of us. As the older child, Noah experiences everything first and I am right there seated next to him on the roller coaster of life. Scared. Exhilarated. Elated. He feels needier to me than his brother does most days and I happily respond to those needs with an overwhelming sense of responsibility. I feel his pain and his pride deeply as if it were my own. I commiserate, celebrate, and battle fiercely with Noah. He is my physical child, always looking for hugs and kisses. I know where I can always feel unequivocally loved and that is anywhere on the planet as long as I am next to him. I am forever his protector and loving him is about keeping him safe and happy.
I love Chase mightily but often from afar. He needs me much less than his brother does as it relates to his daily happenings. Chase is a joy to watch, with a smile that never fails to melt me. He makes me laugh often, and our relationship has always been fun-loving and light. We have a secret language. We are totally goofy together, often to the chagrin of Dave and Noah. But at times, I feel disconnected to Chase and wonder if he is really, truly mine. The kid could ignore me for an entire day without blinking because there are already more important things in his life than his mother. He is stingy with affections, leaving me crave the hugs and kisses I get regularly from his older brother. So I seek him out. Sometimes I get lucky and can capture a moment with him; other times I am checked into the boards as he whizzes by, leaving me feel like a secret admirer.
So, no boys, I will never love you both “the same”. Just know that I love you. Both. Tremendously.