"It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the
way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone (or
even on the toilet) and ask to be taken somewhere. Inside I'm thinking,
'Can't you see I'm busy?' Obviously, not. No one can see if I'm on the
phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in
the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The
invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can
you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?
Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a
clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What
number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a taxi to order,'Right around 5:30,
please.' I was certain that these were the hands that once held books
and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated sum a cum
laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be
seen again. She's going; she's going; she is gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a
friend from England.
Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on
and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking
around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare
and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when
Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I
brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I
wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her
inscription: 'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what
you are building when no one sees.'
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would
discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after
which I could pattern my work.
No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of
their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they
would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no
credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that
the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the
cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny
bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why
are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be
covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman
replied, 'Because God sees.'
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was
almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see
the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No
act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've
baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a
great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a
disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my
own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.
I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As
one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see
finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The
writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever
be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to
sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend
he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My mom gets up at
4:00 in the morning and bakes homemade pies. Then she hand bastes a
turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That
would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him
to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his
friend, to add, 'you're gonna love it there.' As mothers, we are
building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right.
And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at
what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world
by the sacrifices of invisible women.
Great Job, MOM!
Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know... I just did. Hope this
encourages you when the going gets tough as it sometimes does. We
never know what our finished products will turn out to be because of our
(Found on Mamapedia)
I hope you have been encouraged by reading this. I know I was. It's so easy to get caught up in the self-pity of having our individual selves pushed to the back burner while we raise our children. It's also easy to find ourselves striving for "super mom"status by trying to surpass other moms in the "perfectness" category. As a mom of three children, two daughters-in-love, and one beautiful little grandaughter, who have already left not only the nest but live hundreds of miles away from that nest, I can attest to the fact that those daily chores done with perfection are NOT what you will want your children to remember decades from now. All that will matter is that they want to come back to a place they called home for 18 + years ... a place where their hearts can be at rest and where they know they can relive those "momma hug" moments that can not be felt anywhere else no matter how far they roam.
Walking the road with you,
Mom 2 Mom
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