wide open.

We were about to head out to meet some friends for lunch. I was standing in the bathroom, taking 30 seconds to apply some mascara, something that -- let's be honest -- doesn't happen very often around here. I looked in the mirror and saw not just one, but two sets of eyes staring back at me.

Ellerie was on the very tips of her tiny toes, peering over the sink, wanting part of whatever it was that Mama was doing. My eyes were big and wide to get the mascara on right; her eyes were big and wide with curiosity.

Deep breath.

It's all too easy for me to get caught up in the daily grind. The daily cycle of wake and change and eat and drink and play and nap and bathe and story and sleep. Quite often my days look exactly the same; it's an endless loop of caring and clothing and parenting.

Round and round we go, every single day.

And then there are moments, like when I see that extra set of eyes on me in the mirror, where I am reminded that my parenthood task is so much greater than a daily loop. Where I am reminded there is more on my plate than shredded cheese and Cheerios; much more to do than simply making sure at least three of the four romper snaps are snapped. The overall goal is bigger than just getting through the day.

I've got to raise this girl.

I've got to keep her fed and clothed and bathed and loved (of course) but I also need to help her learn what it means to be her. It's my most important task and something that without even noticing, I am actively doing every single day.

While we're changing and singing and playing and eating, I'm also teaching. I'm setting the example for life's biggest lesson: that she gets to be whomever she wants to be. If she wants to take 45 minutes to meticulously apply her make-up, awesome. If she wants to forgo make-up all together forever, awesome. If she wants to fluctuate somewhere in the middle, depending on the year and the day and the minute and the moment, awesome.

And, of course, the make-up and the mascara application -- it's all just a metaphor for something bigger. My girl gets to be whomever she desires: CEO, President, teacher, filmmaker, chef, world traveler, writer, artist, scientist, astronaut, athlete, advocate, lion-tamer, parent (or all 14 if she isn't a big fan of sleep).

I get to raise this girl.

I get to teach her that it's all wide open -- her eyes when applying mascara and more importantly, the future. Her future. She can commit fiercely. She can change her mind. She can focus on one thing. She can do fourteen. She can fail. She can succeed. She can make mistakes. She can get back up. She can. She will. I'll be here, through all of it, watching her with my eyes wide open and cheering her on.

The daily grind gets pretty monotonous around here, and this parenthood gig can often feel like a blur. But in those moments -- those rushed seconds when we're trying to make it out the door and get to lunch on time -- I am grateful for the glimpse in the mirror at that extra set of eyes.

I am grateful for the sweet reminder that my task here is great.