I think that if were to try to isolate one of my very favorite aspects of parenthood, I would choose the way that being the Mother makes it easy for me to find my best Self. It's easier with someone small and helpless and dependent, to be generous and selfless and kind even when you don't feel all that kind inside yourself. They look to you with such absolute trust and confidence that the fall down from disappointing them is daunting and seems a much bigger deal than when I'm tired and cranky and a jerk to my husband. He's a much bigger boy and can more easily categorize my impatience as a blip in the larger context of a happy life together. The kids, most especially when they're tiny and young and still working toward being able to pronounce their s's properly, believe in me and my maternal infallability so much, that to indulge in sin toward them feels a great deal more serious, somehow. Sadly, it's by no means true that I succeed in treating them in the way they deserve all of the time, every step of the way. It's that I do it a great deal more consistently with them than I do with their Daddy or with the rest of the world. I think of the sweetly naive way Lucy registers shock when I tell her that I don't know the answer to one question or another. She is dumbfounded and says, "But I thought you knew everything? Mothers are supposed to know everything" as though I've personally betrayed her. I think of Oliver, fevered and uncomfortable, looking up at me as though I were the one who hung the moon. He is confused and more than a bit angry with me when he asks, "Why aren't you making me feel better?" This is a beautiful burden I shoulder each day.