Sometimes, it’s the small gestures that helped me loved and cared for as a child. As the youngest of twelve, the gestures were, at times, more noticeable than those received by my siblings. I wasn’t aware of this subtle favoritism until I was in my mid-twenties when my older sister, Erin, told me that she was always jealous of me when we were younger.
As adults, we worked together at the bakery she started in New York. One morning, we were frosting cupcakes in cute, pink uniforms when she broke it down to me.
"Ugh, I was constantly mad at you when we were little,” she said. “Mom would ALWAYS call you by your name and, sometimes, she'd call you sweetie."
"Oh my god, I had no idea. I'm so sorry!" I felt terrible.
"And don't even get me started about the donuts," she said as she laughed.
The donuts, indeed! I had completely forgotten about them. This was my favorite time of the week when I was four. It was the day that my mom would go to work late so she could bring me to the donut shop before taking me to nursery school.
The bakery was called Harvey's doughnuts and it was everything you'd want in a donut shop. My mom, dressed in her business attire (always ankle-lengthed floral skirts, silk secretary blouses and a crunchy perm that she regretted the instant she got it) would pull open the glass door and I would run past her to the case. At that time of day, the case was packed with bear claws, circle glazed, maple bars, boston creams, cinnamon rolls and sprinkle donuts. It was row after row of perfect pastries and a sweet vanilla scent danced in the air.
And I danced in front of the case, carefully scanning my options. More often than not, I would be wearing my denim dress with the skirt that flared out perfectly when I spun. The red, shiny belt that came with it was firmly cinched around my little waist. White socks with Keds was the only appropriate footwear for the outfit. My straight, bobbed hair was usually pinned back at the temple. I wore that dress for days on end until my mom would finally convince me to wear something else by bribing me with stickers.
After much deliberation in front of the donut case, I would decide on my usual: a pink, sprinkled doughnut. We ate these little pieces of heaven in one of the orange booth that lined the bakery’s walls. I was so proud to be seen with my mom, so I swung my legs, sipped my orange juice, and looked around to see if anyone noticed how wonderful I was.
I was completely oblivious to the fact that I was actually being cruel and rubbing my status as "mom's favorite" in my siblings' faces during these donut excursions. And I won't even get into the fact that I had a birthday party every year while all my older siblings only got one for their entire life in the house we grew up in. I was, obviously, the most beloved child.