The Invisible Mother

I really loath forwarded emails. Really. Utterly. Loath.


My mom sent this forwarded email to me today and I couldn't help but share it with all you Invisible Mothers out there. Yes...YOU!

And you!

Oh and you too...Yea, you. The one sporting the messy ponytail and "furry" teeth with macaroni and cheese residue smeared on your sleeve, baby barf on the other, and not a stitch of makeup on. YOU!

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.'

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 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 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, devour - 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 story of 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.'

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 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built 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, he'd say, '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 mothers.

Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know... I just did.
The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.
To all the wonderful mothers out there!! God bless and keep you.


That's-Not-My-Kid Thursday

My poor little pathetic meme.

It just hasn't inspired the raging following. In fact only about one loyal follower (LISA!) has played along so far. I think the rest of you just come on over to the Silver Lining on That's-Not-My-Kid Thursdays to read my mortifying mommy moments and laugh. Laugh WITH me no doubt.

I think from here on out I'll drop the link up part of it and just use it for my own devices. Feel free to come on over and read my embarrassing kid stories and laugh WITH me...or AT me. If you would like to write your own That's-Not-My-Kid Thursday post, leave a comment with your address below and I will gladly hop on over and laugh at WITH you.

Onto the mortifying mommy moment...

Since even before Cee arrived, my six year old son Dee has been absolutely enthralled with the concept of breastfeeding. You could make all sorts of cracks about Freud or the male gender and its early fascination with the feminine personage, but I think his curious six year old mind is simply that...curious.

He has been asking all sorts of questions about how, where, why the baby eats and "what are those things for"? I subscribe to the honesty-is-the-best-policy policy and try to matter-of-factly explain how breastfeeding works to my son.

Only problem is...I kind of forgot to also explain how its not exactly mixed company conversation.

The week before we left Nevada I was at the school picking up Dee from kindergarten. When his teacher saw me she busted out laughing and said, "I have to tell you what Dee said today!"

Apparently my son educated his entire kindergarten class on just how breastfeeding works. Quite loudly too according to his teacher.

I haven't gotten any phone calls from incensed parents yet. Moving away has its advantages.


Did You Know...??? {The Four-Kid-Mom Edition}

Did you know...

...when you tell people that you have four children and their ages are 6, 4, 2, and newborn that people automatically assume you are a "planner"?

...that even though you said you were "done" at four that you may or may not feel a sense of resolution once that fourth baby arrives? And that it will haunt you in the wee hours of the morning?

...that poisoned apples are not only fairy tale fodder? Apparently they are quite effective on unruly two-year olds who refuse to nap as well.

...that a) if you are a blogger, b) if you have a baby, and c) that baby arrives around Valentines Day, blog friends will send you little goodies such as this? (Thank you again Mimi! Cee loves it... Can you tell?)

...an uninterrupted hot shower is like unto a week long vacation in the Bahamas?

...a week long vacation in the Bahamas is easier to come by than an uninterrupted hot shower?

...that if you are a four-kid family living in Utah, you look pretty normal compared to all the other out-of-control-rabbit-breeding crazies out there? (And when I say "crazies" I do so with much admiration and respect IF they're doing it right...)

...it is perfectly acceptable to wear your comfortable maternity pants and under-roos even if you can technically fit in your pre-pregnancy pants? Especially if you are too busy breastfeeding to do the laundry.

...breastfeeding your newborn is a legitimate "out" for laundry, dishes, making dinner, conversations with unpleasant visitors, boring meetings, and putting older kids to bed. ("Didn't you just barely feed the baby?" *shrugs shoulders* "Newborns. Sheesh." )

...hemorrhoids are no laughing matter and not good joke material?... JOE!

...the noise level in your house raises exponentially with the arrival of number four, even though the new addition may not be the source of noise?

...that teeny tiny itty bitty baby feet can make a grown woman cry?

...peanut butter sandwiches for dinner the fourth night in a row sounds like a perfectly lovely idea when contemplating whether or not to load up four kids in the van to go to the store all by yourself? Even if you are out milk...and peanut butter...and bread? In fact, nothing could make you leave the house with four kids by yourself unless a) you are out of diapers and not willing to wrap your kitchen towels around your newborn's bum, b) there's a veritable lifetime supply of chocolate waiting on the other end, or c) the house is on fire?

...no matter how "fluffy" you are, people will tell you how amazing you look "for just having your fourth baby"? And you will restrain yourself from giving them a big fat kiss and asking them to be your new best friend?

...it still boggles the mind to look at a new baby and think: "THAT came from me! Like from inside my body! I made that! Wow. "

...a new mother just can't resist showing off her baby, be it the first or the fourth? And a mother can see the subtle differences between 40 pictures of her baby all in the same position and MUST have a copy of 34 of those 40pictures?


The Good, the NOT Bad, and the Very UN-Ugly

(Cheesy? Probably. But how else do you thank the mysterious early morning snow shoveler?)

As I write this post my three oldest are playing outside in the backyard of our new house.

A fenced backyard. Of their very own. I think I'm gonna cry...

Happy tears!

I've always been a rather emotional person (you read my blog, right?) Over the last month those emotions have swung from despair and depression to joy and contentment.


And I would be a very ungrateful girl indeed if I didn't share it. It's too easy to write about all the trials and tribulations and soak up all the "poor Evelyn"s.

There is a balance.

For as insanely crazy and chaotic that the month of January was, so many good things happened and continue to happen. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I was this happy.

We have been blessed with family and friends who love us and give us so much support, encouragement, and love. We have felt the power of prayers, fasting, and love over the last several weeks.

I can't believe that this still surprises me, but it does. Over the last several weeks people would call or write out of the blue to tell me that they weren't sure why but they had been thinking of us and wondered if we needed anything. Amazing!

Packages of goodies and love arrived in our mail box. Homemade meals came to our door. Visitors sat in our living room unannounced but so very welcome. Blog friends who I have never met in person queried how we were doing and asked if there was anything they could do or just expressed the desire to be closer so they could help.

There were so many offers to help that I didn't even know what to tell people. I always feel kind of silly saying things like "just keep us in your prayers" or "we need your prayers", but if there was ever a time we needed prayers it was this last month. And those prayers were there and the power of them felt. Many times over.

I don't understand how. I don't understand why. I don't think we particularly deserved to be so blessed. We try to do good, but we certainly aren't the most righteous or generous or deserving folks.

In short, all that has happened this last month, the good and the bad, has been overwhelming and HUMBLING. Maybe that's why it happened. Because we needed a good humbling.

Note taken.

As grateful as we were for the help, it was hard to take it.

It was not easy to send my children away with my sister and mom for the better part of a week when I was in the hospital giving birth.

It was not easy to sit on the floor of our trailer in Nevada and watch nine men load up my house in a moving van in the space of an hour.

It was not easy to say "yes" when the Relief Societies of our church asked if they could bring in meals when we were all so sick and again after the baby was born and AGAIN when my husband left town a week after we moved to our new home.

It was not easy to watch my family set up my new house in the space of a day from the comfort of a recliner (something that would have taken me months to complete on my own with the "help" of three kids and a newborn).

It is not easy to feel worthy of so much concern and care. It is not easy to feel this indebted to so many people. It is not easy to find the right words to express the depth of gratitude I have.

I have every intention of paying it back and paying it forward. Possibly impossible, but I'll try anyway.

Starting now...


To all our family, to our friends, to the old ward, to the new ward, to the "neighborly" neighbors, to the bloggers, to the complete strangers, for the meals, for the gifts, for the muscles, for the time, for the sweat, for the child care, for the fresh fruit, for the reminders to take it easy and to absorb the time with our new baby, for the shoulders to cry on, for the sympathetic ears, for the hugs, for the phone calls, for the messages, for the hotel stay, for the snow shoveling, for showing up, for being there, for staying, for coming back, for asking again and again and again, FOR THE PRAYERS...THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts, from the bottom of our toes, and all the spaces in between!

Thank you.


Insert Clever Title Here

I miss blogging. I miss my blogging buddies.

I want, nay, NEED to blog.


I keep waiting for this magical moment when both of my arms are free,

when no one is crying,

when my house is clean...ish and I can sit down with my laptop without feeling guilty,

when no one needs me for soothing, playing, opening, feeding, driving, changing, monitoring, wiping, scolding, SOMEthing,

when I am not thoroughly exhausted to the core,

when my clever function returns,

when I have time to read up on all my bloggy buddies' lives first,

when life just calms down for fifteen bloody minutes.


Ain't gonna happen.

So. Here it is in a very hasty and gnarled up nutshell:

We got sick.
We got more sick.
We packed up the house.
We moved.
We unpacked the house.
We settled a bit.
We sent Joe off today to Tucson for a week long business trip.
We are still trying to shake all of the sick.
We are adjusting to our new life as Utahans.
We...make that ME...are struggling to get back into the swing of things many days.
We are very humbled and grateful for all that has taken place in the last month.


And did I mention that in the midst of all that...

We had a baby?

Meet Lucy Ellen P. (here on out to be referred to as "Cee" in Blog-land)

Sorry Sami, but Joe exercised his husbandly and fatherly rights and vetoed "Agnes". :(

After 20 freakishly long hours of labor,
Born Thursday, January 20, 2011.
8.4 lbs and 20.5 inches

Lots of black hair.
Refuses to suck on a pacifier.
Smiled from the beginning.
Resides semi-permanently curled up on Mommy's chest.
Loved in abundance.

Birth story to follow.

I hope.

Oh all right. If you insist. Here's a few more pictures of baby.


Joe + Evelyn = beautiful baby (Biased much??)

There's just something completely irresistable about baby toes...


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