Thursday, May 10, 2007

Splitting the Maraschino

Mom made everything equal. Or at least tried to.

She would spend--right down to the penny--exactly the same amount on her two sons. On clothing, on gifts, on everything. She would scrupulously divvy up everything fifty/fifty between us--right down to the fruit cocktail at dinner. It would only ever have one maraschino cherry in it, so mom would get out the paring knife, and I would get half, and my brother would get half.

For our part, watching our mother carefully weigh and measure every detail of our lives made us realize that she was not playing favorites, since we were of course rational human beings.

Like hell.

There was never any doubt in my mind that my brother was the favored son. He was, after all, the firstborn, the mechanically adept, the chip off the ol' 360-cubic-inch-engine block. Of course mom and dad liked him best.

And my brother for certain knew that I, as the baby, the charmer, quick with a joke and able to worm his way out of all sorts of work because I made my parents laugh, undoubtedly sat at the right hand.

It never occurred to us that we were both wrong.

Of course, it never occurred to mom that no matter how finely she split the maraschino, it wouldn't matter, so why bother?

That lesson is one of the many gifts that I got from my folks. In fact, 'I don't split the maraschino cherry' is my mantra when I get into 'he's getting more than me' situations. I am confident that they will each get enough, and besides, it's the love that's important, and I have plenty of that to give.


All this is by way of saying that, although I do my best, I have an inherent desire to make sure everything is equal between my kids. And since I wrote about my son's birth, I think I'm going to have to post about my daughter's entrance into the world soon.



Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

They taste like fake cherries.

Pickled cherries.

11:38 AM  
Blogger Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

I like it! "Don't split the maraschino cherry" should be one of those universal sayings. It would come in all different forms, too. Like, when someone's being like that, you could also say, "Hey, let's not split the maraschino cherry here" or "man, you're splitting the maraschino cherry." (Actually, I just like saying "maraschino.") Glad to have discovered a finely-written blog (a rarity these days!). Look forward to returning! -PH

12:12 PM  
Blogger terry said...

that WOULD make an excellent slogan for a shirt.

funny, i was convinced my brother was the favorite until i was informed a few years that that was not the case. which is partly why my mom has so much guilt surrounding the scumbag.

but now my childhood baffles me even more...!

anyway. i look forwward to hearing about your daughter's birth.

2:55 PM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

You ge what you get and you don't throw a fit.

4:28 PM  
Blogger cadbury_vw said...

i have a child that i relate to more

i don't know if he's my favourite...

my parents do the same kind of painful splitting as your mom did

i'm trying to use a similar approach with my kids as you are using Ballon Pirate

5:08 PM  
Blogger Heidi the Hick said...

I look forward to reading that!!

My mother in lawr was very strict about splitting things equally. All I'm gonna say is, it didn't work!

8:41 PM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

I know Father's Day is just around the corner, but you seem to be playing both role for these kids, so Happy Mother's Day!

9:12 AM  

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