You are everything else, too. (Day 128, Year 2)

Until I was a mother, I did not realize just how extraordinary this journey would be. I knew it would be work. I knew I'd love my children. But, I did not realize any of the other stuff and how commingled, mixed up and complicated it all is. 

The tricky part about being mother is that you are everything else, too. You don't stop being a woman or a wife or a friend or a worker or a daughter. And try as you might, to always show your best self to your children, they see you at your worse self, too. They see you receiving apologies and giving them, angry and sick and joyous and misbehaving and laughing and thriving and failing and stepping in it and, with luck, also stepping out of it. 

And, I think, to really have a great relationship with your kids, you have let them see all of it; and pray they still adore you, even when you are firmly having a very bad day. You have to let your kids really know you; because if they know you, the real you, not the you smiling even though screaming seems more appropriate, they know they can trust you with their very real selves. 

Because you are not only a mother, you are a safe place. 

And that's such a huge job, to be a safe place, because, every mother knows, children are prickly. There are times when they so difficult and frankly, annoying. But, still, you are their safe place. The spot where honesty and compassion and unconditional, irrational, illogical love commingle. 

They will fight with one another, push one another, fight with you and push you. And you have to there to take it. 

Because you are not only a mother, you are their sounding board, too. 

And they will need things and spend your money and sometimes it feels like they are taking every dime you have and you wonder, why are we doing this? Or how will we pay for this? And you will juggle your career and your work with soccer games and sick days and dance recital and room mom time. 

Because, you are only a mother, you are a worker and a volunteer, too. 

And you'll find yourself missing time alone with your spouse, because bedtime takes forever or someone is devastated over a fight with a friend or another one cannot find anything to wear. And it will be hard; but you'll do it because you are a wife and a mother; and those two things are greatest blessings of all. 

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mothers who are everything else, too.