My Favorite Sister

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I was born into a family that had three girls and one boy. We were and still are a very close-knit family that I suspect went through all the usual rivalries that siblings go through in a lifetime.

As young children, I remember many debates covering the topic of which child was mom and dad's favorite. When one sibling would receive what the others viewed as unfair advantage, it would always end in someone declaring that it was because that other child was mom and dad's favorite. It could have been an argument settled or just the fact that someone noticed that the other got a larger portion of ice cream or something equally earth shattering.

We were all very loved and I'm sure none of us were "the favorite" but that was how we children explained our resolution at the time.

Fast forward some 50 or so years. Every time my whole family gets together, we always greet each other with big hugs and kisses. When my brother enters and kisses each of us girls, he says, "Oh, my favorite sister, it's so good to see you", and we usually respond, “My favorite brother, it's good to see you too."

Usually getting into the house and greeting everyone is quite a large line of kisses and hellos so usually not too much is said at that time about the favorite comments. After our day of celebrating with family and it's time for the goodbyes, it seems that our childhood rivalries return.

As my brother Don kisses and hugs each of us in preparation to leave, he once again hugs and says," Goodbye my favorite sister." Always one of the other girls overhear him say that and the debate is on.

We girls each take our turn at pretending that we are hurt and saddened that he would say the other was his favorite. It always turns into, "I thought I was your favorite. No, I'm his favorite. You told me I was your favorite. She's always the favorite."

Don always takes the time to go back up to each of us girls and re-hugs us. In each of our ears he whispers very softly, "You really are my favorite."

Even though we know that he has said the same thing to each of us, we always smile and gloat a little and pretend that we were just privately informed on our superior status.

I'm not sure why this game still fascinates us as much as it does, but it still seems to fill a space in our hearts that we take joy in. I never really analyzed it but perhaps for each of us it might remind us of how memorable it was to be mom or dad’s favorite.

Gail Earl is a member of the writing class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. It is held off-campus at the Norwalk Senior Center.

Gail Earl