Equal Love, Different Love

Equal Love, Different Love

Erin Burt

Apples and oranges.

One of my sons tells me about healthy foods and reminds me that we need to eat them at each meal. He asked me this morning if pancakes were healthy foods. Gotta love that he’s keeping me on track as a mommy.

My other son is not even present for this conversation as he’s still getting ready, singing a song as he gets dressed ever so slowly. Oh my goodness, so impossibly slow for this efficiently-minded mama. I can hear him telling himself a story as I call out to him, letting him know his nutritionally-substandard pancakes are getting cold.

One son thinks our home’s walls are his canvas; the other son reminds him they are not. One son can get anxious with transitions, while the other will go along with almost anything if you ask in an excited voice. I’m mixing and matching here, but I think the point is clear: Our sons are so deeply wonderful, both so sweet, and can be gentle, kind, and thoughtful with occasional reminders from me or hubby. They both enjoy learning, love to play with cars and blocks, and run about outside and play in the dirt. They are both robust, somewhat rough and tumble, and say the darndest things.

 They are so very similar and yet so strikingly different. Who knows what will become of our daughter as she grows, but these two preschool boys already are full of personality and already growing in their habits. As a sociologist, I have a deep appreciation for nurture and just how much outside influences—me, hubby, media, friends, society at large— interact with our children to help make them who they become. As a mom, there are some things that seem straight out of my husband’s and my chromosomal makeup.

I don’t know which strand of my husband’s makeup makes him more apt to meander but one of our sons got that gene and is taking full advantage of it. Our other son since birth has had more challenge with transitions, just like his mama. Now I’m no genetic scientist, and I don’t like when people claim so-and-so’s eyes look just like great aunt so-and-so...or he’s stubborn just like grandpa-twice-removed-in-law. To me, at some point every one’s eyes look similar and most of us are stubborn; many of us can be categorized into introverts or extroverts, type-A or type-B, and so on. But the way my son dawdles…is just like his father. I’ll stand by that one for sure.

So I love my boys differently. I’m patient with one in some ways that I need not be patient with the other and vice versa. I understand one a little more easily because he’s more familiar, but I appreciate the way my other son brings to life ways I wish I could sometimes be. Somehow both boys came from me though our relationships look slightly different.

But that love is, sometimes, stark. One needs more cuddle time and the other more time to get ready. One is constantly wanting to be aware of things with seemingly endless questions and clarification; the other regularly looks to the world for the fun it can provide with little thought in natural consequences, so I stand on a little more alert. I love these parts of them but my love comes out differently. Some say that you can’t say “equal” since the love is different. I say, maybe you can’t compare apples and oranges, but they are both fruit I happen to love about equally. And I’ll say the same for my children—equal love, but different love for each.

Lynette is a mom of three children from one year to age five. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.


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