Picture it: two women, hugging and crying in a hotel ballroom at the end of a gala event. Most of the guests have gone, and around them the staff are gathering up discarded cloth napkins.
Both are dressed up all fancy.
Both are well-loved researchers and mentors.
One is mother of three grown children, one of four.
One has received a big award that evening and is about to start a new job heading a prestigious program at another university. One takes summers off and works when she wants to.
One is still married, the other not.
Both are my teachers.
Both have held torches that lit the path of my transition to motherhood. Both have shown me how working mothers make the workplace better, how parenting makes you wise and responsible and your research richer.
After watching their embrace, I learn that they also trained together and had their kids together during their training. Through her tears, one said to me, we just took different paths, Nora. We just took different paths.
Here's to Mother's Day, and to path-lighters everywhere.