“He’s such a calm boy.” 

“I promise he’s well-behaved when he’s with me.”

“We had a great day. He definitely acts differently when you’re not around.” 

Oh sweet child, little do they know. 

I get you at your worst.

I get you when the sunny smile that brightened your face just moments ago shifts downward into the deepest scowl.

I get you when your lip starts to quiver and your eyes fill with tears. 

I get you when you turn beet red and those splotchy red marks speckle your forehead and neck.

I get you when your fists ball tightly at your sides and your body goes stiff as a board.

I get you when your pint-sized frame hurls itself onto the floor.

I get you when you flail around on the ground, your high-pitched screams piercing the air, and the eardrums of anyone nearby.

I get you when I carry you out of grocery stores, out of restaurants, out of splash pads and playgrounds and parks, out of friends’ houses, out of the car, out of the backyard because it’s time to go inside for dinner.

I get you when I hold you tightly against my body, as you resist me so hard with yours.

I get you at your worst.

I know they stare. I know they talk. I know they judge the pale, sweaty woman wrestling her hysterical child away, hiding tears behind her over-sized sunglasses. 

But here’s the thing, child.

I get you at your worst, because you feel comfortable enough with me to show your true emotions.

I get you at your worst, because you trust me enough not to ever leave you.

I get you at your worst, because you don’t have to pretend with me.

I get you at your worst, because I am your soft place to land. Your home. Your safe haven.

I get you at your worst, because you know without doubt or hesitation that I will love you no matter what you do.

I get you at your worst, because I am your mother.

Which means that when all is said and done, I don’t worry that you are an angel for other people, but not always for me.

Because when you wrap your arms around my neck and snuggle in my arms;

When in a sea of people you have eyes only for me;

When you turn around for a split second, just to make sure I’m there;

When your smile lights up the room when I walk through the door;

When I’m the first face you see in the morning and the last to kiss you goodnight;

I know.

I know I get you at your best, too.

This article originally appeared on Shower Arguments

Emily Solberg

Emily Solberg is a writer and soon-to-be Mom of two under two based in Washington, DC. When she's not waddling around after her one-year-old, she's binge-watching episodes of The Crown, freelancing, or "playing Army" in her other uniform that doesn't include leggings and a drool-covered hoodie (always a gamble whose drool it is). Find more from her on her Facebook page, ShowerArguments.