Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mom the Builder

It all began to make sense -- the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids would 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 taxi for order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

Some days I'm a crystal ball; 'Where's my other sock? Where's my phone? What's for dinner?'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -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.
She had just returned 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 she 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: 'With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devoured - the book.
And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:
1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.
2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.
3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legend 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.
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, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand 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.’

Mom's - this is for us
Take heart.


Shayne said...

Such an honestly written and eye opening post.

Thank you.

I needed to read that this morning xx

allie. said...

I should tell you that this is not my own work!
I received this by email a couple of days ago thought it would help lots of women.

Oy vey - not easy being a mom.
But the rewards down the line are great.
When they DO see you.
And you are no longer invisible.

blackhuff said...

Even though it's not your own work, it is still good and I thank you for posting it on your blog. Was a nice read and so true also :)

Betty Bake said...

this is an amazing post!!! wow

thank you
Betty Bake x

Ordinarylife said...

Thank you for posting. Lovely.

Werner said...

Thanks for posting this -- amazing grace -- that's what moms have. I've tried it for a few hours at a time, and then need some therapy :-) Respect...

Ness at Drovers Run said...

It's not often a blog post will bring a lump to my throat. Kudo's Allie!

Terry said...

Hi Allie
Now that my girls are in their 30's, I hear them tell my wife Bonnie, we were so spoiled Mom, you did everything for us! God certainly does see all you do and so do your children.
God created Moms to be AMAZING and that you are Moms. Be proud of your selves and the work you've done and are still doing in your families lives♥

4 the hunts said...

WOw - I am teary and lumpy throaty!! Thank you!! beautiful xx I needed that today!

allie. said...

I cannot tell you how glad I am that this post meant so much to so many of you!

Kirsty said...

Just beautiful.... I might have a tear or two in my eyes....;)

Lynette said...

Thank you for posting this. Makes me realise that it is not easy but it is so worthwhile.

Susan said...

Allie..I needed this. I needed this. I needed this. THANK you from another "invisible Mom"!!

Misty'sMum said...

Oh my goodness, this has put into words exactly how I've been feeling lately! I feel as though I've been lost into the detail of day to day living that almost cancels me out as a living, breathing person. Whether it's your work or not, it has certainly struck a chord with me today. Thank you for posting this.
Alison xx

cat said...

Oh Allie - although I actually build real buildings and one opened this morning (in general a happy day), today I am sad and tired as my other 3 "buildings" are keeping em so tired and stressed. And then I read this! Thanks

clare said...