The following is a guest post I wrote for the incredibly talented, honest, and unfiltered Clementine Ford-Wilcox. I highly recommend reading and following her blog, and I was honored to be asked to contribute a piece that speaks to the core of what motherhood means to me.
Behind a mother’s eyes waits a world of wonder, worry, astonishment, confusion, hope, heartbreak, and love. From the instant she welcomes her baby into the world until the day she waves goodbye, her lenses have recorded and stored volumes of memories. Each second of life weighted more pivotal than the next, she tiptoes over the shattered pieces of disappointment, champions the triumphs, and stands as a shield to deflect harm.
Often thankless and regularly ridiculed, the job of a mother is the world’s most vital undertaking. Like a sculptor chiseling a figure from stone, a beautiful, breathing work of art stands as a symbol of the effort applied to the process. She does this without the expectation of praise or applause, but because the task of nurturing a human being is not a burden or an albatross. It is her purpose.
No one thinks about the nights spent hovering over calculators wondering where to find the bottom line, or the furrowed brows carved from releasing a child into the harsh realities of an environment specifically designed to pressure, threaten, and challenge. Listening to the minutiae of a school day’s proceedings, driving to early morning soccer games, enduring cacophonic choral recitals, and patching broken hearts after fumbling attempts at navigating puppy love all serve as the ingredients for a cake made by a baker still deciphering the recipe. But this endeavor is exponentially more love than labor.
Stumbles and missteps are expected, but being a mother means learning more from the losses than the victories, and imparting those lessons to that innocent face watching your actions with studied attention. Mimicry is inevitable when you are someone else’s entire world. The challenge is crafting a life that is worthy of emulation.
It is precisely this ability to direct focus on what is truly important that will invariably separate a mother from the masses. Perhaps there are men who walk a similar line. I’m not a father, and I never had one. But I know my jet-propulsion fuel has come from one very capable and concentrated source, and my rocket would have plummeted into the sea long ago had it not been for the strength, foresight, and intuition that live behind a mother’s eyes.