Tuesday, January 29, 2008
To the "invisible" moms of the world…
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, and 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 author 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.
Great Job, MOM!
The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not
Monday, January 28, 2008
I've been writing for as long as I can remember. My goal is not to be published but to figure out who I am and see how I have grown and changed. My hope is that my daughters or anyone else who stumbles across my journals long after I'm gone will perhaps learn something too.
Every good writer loves to read as well! I've been reading Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, at Katie's suggestion. I love these books! I'm just finding it difficult to make time to read even though I'm at a really good part in New Moon (the second in the series). To all those Twilight fans out there:
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
After piggy-backing her through the mall, we went directly to the hospital where thankfully they took her right in. The x-rays showed three broken bones on the top of her foot. The ER doctor on duty said injuries like this usually occur when someone drops a heavy object on their foot or when they jump or fall from a great height and land on their toes. After some interrogation, Emily sheepishly confessed to "running and skipping bigly" on the way back to the theatre! Aha! Apparently her foot twisted and she landed on her toes, rolling her foot forward, causing the fractures.
They set up her with a temporary cast until the permanent one could be put on yesterday morning. Thankfully no bones had to be reset! She's having some pain and swelling so she's home from school a second day in a row. Tomorrow she'll be back to school with the challenge of making her way around on crutches (She can't put any weight on the foot for two weeks).
Back home after the emergency room visit late Monday/early Tuesday with her temporary splint, applying an ice pack. Em was a great sport and so brave! She was more concerned that she might have to get a shot than having broken bones! Here she is good spirits. The real pain won't start until the next day (gotta love that Tylenol with codeine!)
Dressed and ready to head to the orthopedic doctor for the cast.
The hot pink cast! (You thought it would be any other color?!)
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
My busy work hours will be here soon enough so in the mean time we are going to have fun! Life is too short to stress out over a messy house. My girls are going to be grown and gone before I know it, so I want to relish every moment! We're on the run more than we are at home and when we're at home, it's time to relax and destress.
Now that my room is finished, I feel like a teenager again in a way. After all, it's been that long since I've had my own room (and even then it was temporary--my sisters and I alternated having our own room). I'm spending a lot of time catching up on my journal writing, reading, praying, planning my future, and sometimes just daydreaming--guilt free! (It's a beautiful thing.)This is the print I bought for my room. I love pink roses! Pale pink roses connote grace, gentleness, and gratitude.
Here's a view of my dresser. Barb bought me those cool inspirational plates for Christmas. The cute snowman is from Kristen. The gold candle sconces were a gift from a partner at work, and the candles I bought at World Market. They have funky aromas that remind me of Bangladesh!
This cute monkey sits astride my bargain floor lamp. He's a reminder of my future travels. The stars behind him symbolize dreams. (I never realized until I typed this how much symbolism is in my life these days!)
Enough fun for now, time to be a grownup for a short time and pay the bills or do dishes or something!
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Tonight my friend, Linda, and her daughter Theresa, treated Katie, Emily, and me to a night at the St. Louis Symphony. Tonight's highlight was Scottish music. It was so beautiful. In the past, I never appreciated this style of music, but my life is changing so quickly now, so much is opening up to me.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
So I got a few necessary things done but decided to enjoy my last Saturday off until late April.
It's going to be a challenge working all those hours with the girls home alone, but they're old enough now to handle it. I just hate being away from them for so long. We've already had a meeting about teamwork. Katie said, "Mom, it's not that big of a deal. Dad was never here last tax season anyway." (sneaking out of the house all the time to meet his girlfriend while I worked up to 80+ hours a week---but don't get me started!)
I'll just take another deep breath and take one day at a time like I always do!