Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Well, another Thanksgiving without a turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing or pumpkin day off of work or long weekend. Geeze it's depressing living in Tuscany sometimes! I have managed to find something resembling a turkey only it's in the form of a roast...doesn't quite cut it, however, my oven isn't really big enough to cook a whole roasted turkey...not that I could because I got married and left the States before I even learned how to bake one. Last year I even went so far as to FORGET Thanksgiving! Not this year, with all of the people on the support groups spreading inspirational messages of gratitude and thanks. It's those life crises that lead us to appreciate all that is beautiful in our lives. We are each at a different point in our journey and family assumes an entirely different meaning when we are tested by life. I have a lot to be thankful for this year, but I miss my family and dinners at Aunt Janice's house. Before I start bawling and really feeling sorry for myself, I think I'll forward this post by a mom named Karen who has just created a WALK TO RAISE COCHLEAR IMPLANT AWARENESS, CHECK OUT HER WEBSITE!! YOU GO GIRL!

Live, Love, Hear was created to help raise COCHLEAR IMPLANT AWARENESS in the Berks and Lehigh County area in Pennsylvania.
Our mission is to help raise funds for the Cochlear Implant Awareness Foundation. This foundation provides information, resources, support and financial assistance to persons who may be eligible for this life changing technology.

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 pathet ic, 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

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!
Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know ..... I just did.

1 comment:

leah said...

I know about Thanksgivings in foreign countries! We had one in Ireland and it was difficult to find a turkey! We finally got a local butcher to secure one, and it still had some feathers left on! It was a VERY interesting year, lol.