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 and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone? ‘Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or vacuuming, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I’m invisible. I’m the invisible Mom.
Some days I am only a pair of hands: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to ask, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car 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 but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. Going, going, gone!
One night, a group of us were celebrating the return of a friend from England. I was sitting there, looking around at the others who were all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when my friend 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 sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: ‘…with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’
In reading the book, I discovered four life-changing truths:
* 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.
When I finished the book, I felt the missing piece fall into place. I heard God whisper, ‘I see you. I see what you do every day, even when no one else does. No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.’
I don’t want my child to tell the friend she’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving dinner that her Mom gets up at 5 in the morning, bakes pies, hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table. I just want her to want to come home. If there is anything more for her to say to her friend, I want her to add ‘you’re going to love it here.’
We are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. 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 because of invisible women.