Thanksgiving is the only time I spend with both of my adult children and their spouses. (We all live in different states.) My daughter, “Mary” has always believed that I favor her older brother, and when he was younger he believed I favored his sister. Practically since birth, Mary has always demanded a lot of attention. My son is a very quiet person and found her constant demand for attention overwhelming. I did my best to give each child what they needed and to be as fair as possible. As adults, I go out of my way to be fair. If I help one buy a car, I give the same amount of money to the other.
Yet my 30-year-old daughter is always looking for, and pointing out ways, she sees me favoring her brother. Some examples she’s given are if I am greeting them and I hug him first or if I make coffee and pour him a cup first. I want to enjoy the only time we all spend together without walking on eggshells. I’ve tried talking to her about this for years but she believes what she believes. Last Thanksgiving, when she brought it up I jokingly replied that she was wrong; I love the dog best! I’ve spoken to my son, DIL, and SIL to see if I am doing anything to perpetuate her belief and they have all assured me that I am not. I want to enjoy my holiday with my kids without worrying about who gets pie first. Is there anything I can do or say to make my daughter believe I love them all best?
—The Dog Is My Favorite