In this column, Kristen Mulrooney writes letters to famous mothers from literature, TV, and film whom she finds herself relating to on a different level now that she’s a mom herself.

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Dear Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen,

Let me start by saying I would never doubt most of your claims to fame. First of her name? The records can prove it. The Unburnt Queen of Meereen? I saw it with my own eyes! Breaker of chains? Absolutely, it was some of your best work.

If I’m being honest, though, for a while, I wasn’t so sure about the whole “Mother of Dragons” thing. Even considering your plans for world domination, I still thought you were at your most delusional when you unironically declared that three fire-breathing dragons were your babies. I’m writing now to say I was wrong.

My own path to motherhood started in an unusual place, although not quite as unusual as “fossilized dragon eggs.” The unusual thing about it was that I was always one of those people who said, “I don’t like kids,” a statement that is not entirely true. What I really meant was, “I don’t know what to do with kids.” Kids find me extremely boring. I’ve never been good at playing with them or talking to them. To me, talking to kids feels like speaking Dothraki to someone who only knows High Valyrian.

I figured I’d know what to do with my own kids since I was promised a natural maternal bond with them. But when I saw my friends announcing their pregnancies on social media with messages like, “We already love our little baby so much!” I started to wonder what was wrong with me. While I was certainly excited to have a baby on the way and fascinated by the experiment of higher mysteries my body was turning into, the fetus itself still felt like a figment of my imagination.

No worries, though. I would wait for the special moment when I held my baby for the first time and experienced that instant bond.

Except that didn’t happen either. When the nurse placed the seven-pound creature in my arms, all I saw was a stranger. Even though I actually recognized him—the nurse pointed out he had a dimple on his cheek in the exact same spot as mine, and he bore an uncanny resemblance to my eighty-five-year-old grandfather—beyond that, I felt little connection to this brand new existence.

But because the nurse put the strange little baby in my arms and told me he was mine, I took care of him. Did I have a choice? He was so small and helpless. So I fed him and held him, and by the time I’d changed a couple diapers and watched him yawn a few tiny yawns, I loved him. I bet you felt the same when you saw your newborns snort out their first sparks and teensy wisps of smoke. It’s adorable. That’s how they get ya.

I don’t feel bad about my initial skepticism toward my baby. My bond with my children doesn’t come from the nine months they spent in my womb. It comes from every moment after that. I don’t think where they come from or what they look like is what matters. Some mothers will have an uncomplicated delivery. Some mothers will have a C-section. Some mothers will walk into a pit of flames and emerge fully naked with three dragon babies. None of that matters. What matters is that we take the baby—or hatchling—into our arms and agree that it is ours.

The thing about that, though… once I became a mother to my own children, my attitude toward other kids changed. They still don’t want to engage in conversation with me, because I am still extremely boring, but now I feel like every kid in the world is my responsibility. Mothers have an unspoken agreement that all of the babies are ours. When I’m at the playground and I see a kid fall off the monkey bars, my knee-jerk reaction is to go comfort them along with all the other moms, and we don’t recede until the Real Mother arrives. Every runny nose, untied shoe, and boo-boo is my problem now. I always tell my kids that if they lose track of me when we’re out in public, find a mom, because I know any mom will drop what they’re doing to become Interim Mother until we’re reunited.

Motherhood is a watch that never ends.

So Daenerys, my Mad Queen (and who can blame you for the madness? I mean, TRIPLETS?), I don’t think it’s so outlandish that you are a Mother of Dragons. Are our kids really so different anyway? They’re loud. They never stop snacking. They destroy everything they touch. They’re all the same. It’s like the old saying goes: dragons and children can never be tamed. Not even by their mother.

Your most humble and obedient servant,