Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Sandy a former student on mine sent this to me not too long ago. I found out it was taken from a book written by Nicole Johnson Many of us mothers feel this way, but in the end our job isn't thankless. So if you as a mother ever wonder is this all worth it? Yes, it is.

The Invisible Mother

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. 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 m 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 child 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.

Great Job, MOM!

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