Skip to main content

Invisible...

I promise a real post soon (by "real" I mean "one written by me")...  On one of the blogs I read I just came across a wonderful piece about being a Mom... Those of you who are mothers (particularly to older children) will nod your heads in agreement I'm sure... As for me I'm going to file it away to pull out in ten years when I need to be reminded that I am "building great cathedrals."

“Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is
wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others
think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible”


I’M INVISIBLE


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 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 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 and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -
but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen
again. She’s going, she’s going, she’s 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 as I looked down
at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was
clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I
could actually smell peanut butter in it. 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
in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and 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.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Checking in....

Thought it was time for a little update on the projects we're working on at Casa LeBaron.   In living room news, our fireplace is almost finished!  The new tile has been grouted (no pictures yet) and all we have left to do is seal the grout and install the new fireplace doors.  Then I have to figure out how I want to style the mantel- I usually just throw a bunch of frames and things up there but am not sure if that's the way I want to go right now...  Here's how it's looking (or, here's how it was looking before we grouted the tile): Below is a close up of how we fixed our cabinet doors.  Originally they were oak with horrible brass hardware.  The panels on each door front was cracked and they were U-G-L-Y.  So we popped out the panels, painted the frames, and used my handy dandy glue gun to inset new panels.  The new panels were made from one sheet of radiator screening that we cut to size and sprayed with oil-rubbed bronze spray paint.  We added new handles and…

Paul Thomas: Things to Remember, Five

Oh what a difference a year makes.  Paul turned FIVE on Sunday.  Last year, when he turned four, I lamented the fact that he had gone from a toddler to a little kid in the blink of an eye.  Another blink later and he’s not a little kid anymore- he’s a big kid, a five year old, heading off to pre-K with his backpack and his lunchbox and not even a wave good-bye over his shoulder. 

LP has grown several inches since he turned four- just look at the difference in the photos below, taken just about a year apart.  He looks like a baby to me in the first photo, and so grown up in the second.





At five, Paul is intelligent, engaging, witty, and I have to admit, rather adept at sarcasm (it runs in the family on both sides and was bound to happen).  He loves to talk to anyone and everyone but is particularly happy talking to grown-ups, especially the elderly people who frequent the YMCA we attend.   I’ve been told several times by them that he’ll grow up to be a politician or a salesman.  When I…

Things to Remember: Eliza Rose, Age 3

Today our sweet little Eliza Rose turns three.  Like all moms, I'm sure, it's hard for me to believe that she's already out of toddler-hood and becoming a preschooler.  It seems as though we were just preparing for her to join our family yesterday and now, of course, it's impossible to imagine what life would be like without Eliza around.


Eliza might be the smallest person in our house but she has the largest personality by far.  Shy in public, she's boisterous and energetic at home- running all over, squealing with excitement, bossing everyone around and trying to take charge at all times. 

She's stubborn and sensitive, sweet and sassy, and over the top spicy.  

At three Eliza's favorite things are her brother, her doggies, mermaids, stories, and princesses.   She loves to play tea party, help in the kitchen and go swimming.    Sometimes she says she's "Eliza BaBaron"- other times she's a "puppy doggy" or a "mermaid with a pi…