Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I am often draw into conversations about the number of kids I have, but this one took a different turn. Mike, the portly French-Canadian passport official liked the names I had chosen for my children, and said as much. Between data entry he asked many questions about how we raise them and which of them share my features versus my husband's. We passed what might have been a very tedious 40 minutes in companionable chatter. And then he shot a question out there from left field. I should say that if felt like it came out of left field to me, but in hindsight, I suspect Mike had been steering the conversation to this very moment from the first 'Hello'.

Waving a hand at the stack of passport photos, he asked; "So, which is your favourite?"

He wouldn't look at me when he asked this. Head bent low over his typing fingers.

"Not a chance!" I said. I explained that I know that favouritism exists out there but I simply couldn't grasp how that is possible.

This man looked up with tears falling from his eyes and told me; "It destroys kids. Destroys them." Then he added, "I left my wife because of what favouritism did to our two sons."