A father is someone who represents something other than himself in the relationship to his child, and who believes in what he represents: law, reason, experience. Society. A mother does not represent anything in the relationship to her child. She does not stand in relationship to it, but is around it, inside, outside, everywhere. She raises the child up at arm's length and presents it to eternal life. Mothers are in charge of God. That is their passion, their sole occupation, their loss and their empowerment at the same time. To be a father is to play the role of a father. To be a mother is an absolute mystery, a mystery without reference point, an absolute that is not relative to anything, an impossible task that is nevertheless fulfilled, even by bad mothers.

Christian Bobin, The Very Lowly