Favor

Mother, Daddy, and me when it was just the three of us

When I asked my dad which of our parents he thought each of us children most favored, he went for the obvious answer. I, of course, was much more like Mother, and my brothers like him, he ventured. He couldn’t give me a single reason for his rationale—other than gender. I think it’s a lot more tangled than that.

My mother and I were practically inseparable during my youth. But not in a we’re-like-sisters kind of way. She taught me to sew, to cook, to can and freeze our garden harvest. Working alongside each other for hours each day made for easy conversation. As the oldest of three children and the only girl, I was her designated assistant when it came to cleaning, grocery shopping, or any other domestic chore. She was the adult leader for my 4-H club. She ferried me from one extracurricular activity to another.

Our interests were similar, no doubt in part because she guided me toward hers. So, the casual observer could hardly be blamed for assuming we were kindred spirits. At times, I probably did, too. She’s quieter, though, softer, always happy and optimistic, always a smile for anyone lucky enough to cross her path. I’m a little grainier.

In temperament, personality, and general approach to life, I think I was always much more like my father. Driven Type A personalities, we were achievers, always searching for new and better ways, ready to be called upon, eager to be recognized for our efforts. We were equal parts shyness and show-off. Both vocalists, we shared many a car ride to choir practices or music lessons.

His jokes were corny and he regularly embarrassed me in front of my friends, but I was secretly glad he was a presence at our church’s youth activities. Just his being there made me feel ‘chosen’ in some way.

While I was more likely to confide in Mother or ask her more of life’s impenetrable questions—after all, we were in each other’s company much more often, it’s Dad’s example I always looked to for guidance as I navigated the world of work and other aspects of adult life. He had a way of using diplomacy to make his point, keeping potential foes on his side—or at least off their guard. “Make ‘em love you,” he said. I tried, but I didn’t have his panache.

Maybe it’s a toss-up and I’m more or less equal parts him and her. That’s fine by me. I have been so very lucky to have two truly awesome parents to lead me through life’s thorns and thickets and guide me towards fulfillment and satisfaction. Their stars will always shine bright.

What about you? Do you more strongly favor one parent? What makes it so?

9 thoughts on “Favor

  1. Growing up, I always heard Denissa looked like Mom, and I looked like Daddy. I wanted to look like the beauty queen that Momma was. Now as I get older, I see my mom’s eyes when I look in the mirror. I definitely had/ have my dad’s stubbornness. But I never remember him talking badly about anyone.

    P.s., The thing I remember best about Aunt Pansy when I was growing up… her sweet and happy giggle! Love, love, love her!

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    • Oh, thank you, Debbie! (Oh, those Dillard giggles!) You sure look like your mom now! You may have your dad’s smile, though–though both of your parents had lovely smiles. Denissa has that Dillard look, too. I think she favors Phyllis and Grandmother a lot.

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  2. Thank you for your post, Carole. Soon I’m going to think about and write in my “occasional journal” about how I’m like my parents as I certainly see both sides of them in myself.

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  3. My mother used to say, “you are just like your father” which I found out later meant stubborn, willful, and able to charm my way out of trouble.” She did not mean it as a compliment, but as I got older I realized that being like my father was a good thing.

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