A good friend told me a story this morning about being at a thing and to keep conversation light, the group shared their favorite animals. An ice breaker of sorts. After the usual animals were named (or maybe unusual. Perhaps there was a star-nosed mole pitched to the group) a hippie-ish gent said, "the female human." Sure, this could be taken as objectification or disrespectful, but as my friend shared, that was really not this guy's intent. It was truly meant to honor all that the female species does and endures. He couldn't agree more; the female is endlessly fascinating. Now, when asked what his favorite animal is, he simply converts his answer to "mother hen."
Much better. We universally love the hen. She clucks. She warms her eggs. She has the greatest waddle. She is an endurance athlete. On good days, she'll allow for a cuddle. She does all this unconditionally expecting no reciprocity.
But let us not forget the father. He does not carry the baby but through a leap of faith, loves any way. He sees physical resemblance, disposition similarities. That nose. Those freckles. That storm. That mischief. Like the mother, he expects little in return. Perhaps a good grade, the lawn mowed, a dishwasher unloaded, a room cleaned, kinda. But those are just to create a sense of belonging; of responsibility.
He expects little and hopes greatly: that no harm will come as independence becomes reality. That she will remember to honor and love herself as much, or maybe more, than a hen on her eggs or his leap of faith.