Earlier today, I was scrolling through the Facebook feeds of my relatives, looking for gift ideas. I was having almost no success, save an idea for one of my nieces (that ended up totaling $34, she had better like it), when a post shared by my oldest sister caught my eye. It was one that has been very popular lately – I’ve seen it on many people’s walls, but I haven’t done it myself – the “most often-used words” graphic.
I’m admittedly curious to see what words I used more often than others. But not curious enough to give the thing access to my Facebook, and certainly not curious enough to share it with others. But I digress. Here’s what my sister’s picture looked like:
It’s hard to read some of the words, given the size of them, but it’s notable to see what words are larger than others. One of the largest words is “Alanna”. That’s the name of one of my nieces (the second oldest). Just above her name, almost as large (but not quite), is the name “Melody”. That’s my youngest niece, and my sister’s “princess”. … Actually, now that I think about it, I’m surprised “princess” isn’t on here – not that I can see, anyway. There is the word “pretty” though, which she uses to describe her princess a lot, so… yeah. Also, below and to the right of “Alanna” is “Melody’s”. That’s two mentions of her in the “most often used” words thing.
Now look below “Alanna”. Look below “awesome”, and you’ll see the name “Aurora”. Aurora is my oldest niece, and she and my sister don’t always (often) get along well. It’s not surprising, I suppose, that Aurora’s name wouldn’t be used as much as Alanna’s or Melody’s. But that’s not the most notable thing, to me. See, I’ve mentioned my three nieces.
Except I have four nieces.
My second youngest niece’s name is Daphne. When she was born, she was labeled as my sister’s “princess” – her favorite. (Being realistic, the newest child was always my sister’s proclaimed favorite, but…) But then, at a young age, we learned that Daphne had been diagnosed with conditions that the other children hadn’t. She had attention disorders and would need more care than the other two did – on top of that, my parents weren’t around to raise her (as they were with the first two kids). So what happened? Largely, Daphne hasn’t received the care and attention that she needs. Largely, Daphne is treated like the black sheep of her family.
Do you see Daphne’s name on that list of most-often-used words? Because I sure don’t. Think about the message that likely sent to her. Your mother does something like this and it highlights how often she talks about her children, the people who should be closest and most important to her – and you don’t show up. The words “love” and “happy”
and “home” all show up, but your name doesn’t. Your mother doesn’t include you in any of that, and this is concrete proof.
What a shitty feeling that must be. I’ve known for a long time that I don’t approve of my sister’s parenting style, but this really seems to encapsulate everything I’ve thought into one tidy picture. She plays favorites with her children. Her favorite is always the youngest – that’s never changed. She loves Alanna, because Alanna is just like her in a lot of ways. She isn’t as close to Aurora, because Aurora doesn’t want to be just like her mother. But Daphne doesn’t even register on her mind, apparently. It makes me wonder sometimes if she even really cares at all. I’m not a parent, and I don’t know when, or if, I will be one. But I hope that if that time comes, I won’t be like my sister. I would hate myself.
I’m going to message my niece and give her a virtual hug today (and let her know that I bought her Christmas gift). … I’m pissed off now, though.