It comes up a few times a year. When one of my boys is getting in trouble for mishandeling a video game, leaving wet towels on the floor or not putting their dirty clothes in the hamper, the one getting in trouble will look at me with big blue eyes puddled with tears and say, “I knew you didn’t love me best! You always take his side! You’ll never love me best!”
Because you are my oldest I most certainly love you best. I love you best because you were our guinea pig. You were the child that had to experience all of your mother’s mistakes. You were the one who loved to get dirty but because your mother was convinced any amount dirt would surely irreparably harm her little boy, you were not allowed to touch anything that wasn’t sprayed with Lysol or washed in Bleach. You were the one that has every monument documented in a baby book. The curls from your first haircut are neatly placed in a shadow box along with a birth announcement and hospital bracelet.
My little boy who prefers I no longer call him, “my little boy” but instead, “my oldest.” You, my little oldest boy who is tough and edgy yet still likes to give his mama hugs and kisses. I love you the best because you were patient while I was learning the ropes of motherhood. I love you the best because you taught me that happiness is more about grass stains and mud pies than pressed rompers and coordinating hats. I love you best because you are the best big brother ever. For these reasons and so many more that’s why I love you best.
go And my baby who isn’t a baby anymore here are the reasons I love you best. I love you best because even with terrible colic you still managed to show me your first big toothless smile. I love you best because you didn’t mind carrot stained hand me downs or cardboard books that had been chewed on by your big brother. I love you best because no one (and I mean no one) can calm you down like me. I love you best because no one makes a better little brother than you.