Long ago, I cut out an Ann Landers column that touched my heart. It is a letter written by "A Mother" to her kids. I could have written something like it myself.
Dear First Born: I've loved you best because you were our first miracle. You were the genesis of a marriage and the fulfillment of young love. You sustained us through the hamburger years, the first apartment, our first mode of transportation and the 7-inch TV we paid on for 36 months. You were new and had unused grandparents and enough clothes for a set of triplets. You were the original model for a mom and dad who were trying to work the bugs out. You got the strained lamb, the open safety pins and the three-hour naps. You were the beginning.
Dear Middle Child: I've always loved you best because you drew a tough spot in the family and it made you stronger for it. You cried less, had more patience, wore faded hand-me-downs and never in your life did anything first. But it only made you more special. You were the one we relaxed with and realized a dog could kiss you and you wouldn't get sick. You could cross a street by yourself long before you were old enough to get married. And you helped us understand the world wouldn't collapse if you went to bed with dirty feet.
Dear Youngest Child: I've always loved you best because while endings are generally sad, you are such a joy. You readily accepted the milk-stained bibs, the lower bunk, the cracked baseball bat, the baby book that had nothing written in it except a recipe for graham cracker pie crust that someone had jammed between the pages. You are the one we held onto so tightly. You are the link with our past, a reason for tomorrow. You quicken our steps, square our shoulders, restore our vision and give us a sense of humor that security, maturity and durability can't provide. When your hairline takes on the shape of Lake Erie and your own children tower over you, you will still be our baby.