To The Invisible Mamas

I see you, mama. I see you.

I see the way you put your blinders on, focused dead straight ahead as you push your screaming child through the store. I see the way you frantically push from one department to another, trying to get your errands done as quickly as possible so you can retreat back to your own private world. I see how you make awkward small talk with the cashier, trying to hold back your own tears as your child’s tears flow freely. I see you.

I see you, dear mama in workout clothes, dashing through the parking lot in the pouring rain. I see that you are getting soaked by the downpour that mercilessly complicates your day, your umbrella hooked somehow to the stroller you push so as to keep your sleeping baby dry. I see you.

I see you, sweet mama of three. I see how you bear the load of the toddler on your back while pushing an overloaded shopping cart. I see you looking in three directions at once, trying to keep track of your older children as they wander through the store on their own agenda. I see how you keep the tone of your voice soft and loving, even when this trip to the store has maxed out your patience for the day before 10:00 in the morning. I see you.

I see you, young mama with the baby on your hip. I see how you attempt the impossible: wrangling a soaking wet umbrella, diaper bag, and precious child. I see how you smile and coo at your baby even though you are frustrated and tired. I see you.

I see you, invisible mamas. I see how you drag yourselves through your day. I see how you are doing the very best you can. I see how you are poured out – completely emptied of yourselves every day, over and over, a thousand times. I see how you hope for invisibility – how you just want to survive, moving unnoticed through your to-do lists and plans, nothing hindering your progress so you can move to the next thing. I see, though, how you long to be seen. I see the desperation in your eyes: “See me. See me. Please really see me.”

And I do see you. I do.

This thing you’re doing – mothering and loving and giving yourself away – it’s not a solitary endeavor, by any means. I know. Oh, I know how you’re never, ever by yourself, but I know, too, how you feel oh, so alone so much of the time. I know how even when you’re beaming with pride as someone
acknowledges your precious child in the checkout line, you want them to acknowledge you. You, the woman. You, the person. You.

Because however old you were when you stepped into this magical, mysterious role of motherhood, you are first and foremost a woman. You were a little girl who grew into a teenager into a young adult, and while that person looks very different now, she is still there. She is worn and aged a bit from life, but she is there. She has not disappeared, though on so many days you would swear that she has.

I see you. I know. And though my motherhood journey is not like yours (no two are alike, after all), and though you may be further along the journey or may have more children who call you mama than I do or may have circumstances very different from my own, I do see you. I see you, and on some deeper level than all of that, I understand.

But don’t take comfort from that, dear mama. Take comfort that it is the One Who Sees who has opened my eyes, and He sees you still. He saw you this morning as your day began, He sees you now as you long for a moment of quiet, and He will see you tonight when your weary body falls into bed. He sees you, and He knows.

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