Parade of the invisible women.
This morning I sat in the elementary school car drop-off line and wondered if I was watching a parade of invisible women.
In my job as a psychologist, I once saw a woman who had been invisible for 30 years. She had outlived her neglectful parents and married a man who found her “useful but dramatic” and who tried to solve her problems. She stood in front of her groom, stabbed herself in the abdomen, and drank poison. Aurthur calmly turned the pages of his newspaper in the hospital waiting room.
She was mentally ill.
Or was she?
One time, years ago, I stood in front of my husband and demanded that he see me. I demanded, with tears down my cheeks and one baby in my arms and one baby in my belly and a toddler on my leg, that he momentarily put aside his separate world and soak in my existence and feel it. He put his arms around me and never again asked why there were Cheerios all over the floor when he got home from work. But what if he hadn’t gotten it, or worse, made me feel crazy and dramatic and lazy and not-good-enough and not-sexual-enough and not-happy-enough?
Invisible is not a way to exist, and not seeing is not a way to love.
Today in their cars, I saw moms with slippers and work heels and lip gloss and mascara smudges and baseball caps give their kids kisses and help with stuck seatbelts and hand-off backpacks and squeeze one last spelling word into the conversation and remind about soccer later and say “Yah, you get to do computers today!”and hold back yelling when kids move too slow, and ignore the garbage on the floor and breathe through the baby’s screaming and remind kids about lunch money checks and remain present and smile even though every morning there is stress and hurry and even sometimes fear…
Every day, inside cars and inside houses, the most important invisible things are happening. These heroics are sometimes overlooked by those who haven’t had the privilege of seeing, really seeing, such an exquisite parade.
I saw you today.
From, the therapist who knows everyone just wants to be seen and also needs to mention that there were a couple awesome dads in the curb-side line-up as well.