Jazz Girl wrote:I don't know that I can agree completely that Edward is necessarily Carlisle and Esme's favorite. I too have read the PC, and absolutely believe that they have a special affection for Edward as the "eldest" but also as the youngest (he is chronologically youngest of all of the siblings). And, as SM points out, he is naturally a good person and a leader. But, I don't think that is neccesarily the same thing. I guess I define "favorite" as giving him special treatment, an inequality in affection shown etc.. But, I think, in Esme and Carlisle's case, they are parents who are truly able love each of their children as individuals; communicate and support each one equally in a way that is appropriate for each of their personalities. And, it is for that reason that I think they consider Jasper to be just as much one of their children as Edward or Alice or Rose or Emmett.
I think it might appear to us as readers that Edward is their favorite particularly because of the circumstances under which we see them interacting. Edward has been unattached for so long, to the point of worrying Esme that he is missing an essential part of his adult make up because he was so young when he was turned. And, he is the child with the greatest needs during the time we get to watch their life unfold. So, it is natural that we would see Esme and Carlisle working hardest to help him, to support him. But, for example, I think the same would be seen of their support and help for Jasper after the birthday party, but we don't get to see that.
As for where Bella fits into the mix, I think they view her as a daughter, not a daughter-in-law. I agree with Heart_In_Hand that Bella was truly the other half to Edward, and that is how they came to know her. But, just as they did with Emmett and Jasper, they very quickly came to know and love Bella for being Bella, not the other half of Edward. That certainly enhanced the package. But, again, I see Esme and Carlisle as parents whose children are each unique gifts to them to be loved as individuals.
Thank you Jazz Girl, that's what I was trying to say when I said they don't have favorites, even after reading all the PCs, which I've done an unhealthy amount of times. I never thought the Cullens believe any of their family members to be in-laws. I think that once you have been welcomed into the family, you're just as much their child as your mate. I think that if we were to read the books from Esme or Carlisle's POV we'd see them spend an equal amount of time with, and show an equal and different type of love for each of their children... now I have another companion book to fruitlessly wish for!