I stood in front of the laundry pile and picked through it to find my clothes, fold them, and promptly put them away, leaving my husband’s in the bin. (no shame!) I also took the beach towels off the drying rack outside, where they were well beyond dry having been out there for a few days. I folded them and put them away even though I hadn’t gone to the lake with the rest of the crew. This was all after I had made lunch for everyone, loaded the dirty dishes, and wiped down the countertops.
A couple of hours later, my husband sauntered upstairs from his office just as I was about to finish all these kin-keeping tasks to make his ritual afternoon tea.
He took out his mug, filled it with water, popped it into the microwave for 2 minutes, and then stared/scrolled through his phone.
I hardly noticed when the tears started to trickle down my cheeks. I huffed and sighed and wiped them from my face. Thankfully he didn’t see and I was glad I could avoid the “what’s wrong” conversation.
I would have, no doubt, mentioned how entirely unseen I felt in that moment and in so many others throughout my normal day.
He- brewing a cup of tea and reading the latest tech or science news on his phone, me- (once again) cutting into my “work” hours to make sure the house stays livable for all 6 of us and everyone has what they need. I don’t mind it really. I actually enjoy being organized, keeping my house clean, and loving my family through these constant, little acts of love.
But I can say this: I always wish someone would notice. I imagine a woman standing next to me with a huge smile on her face, “You are an incredible mother and more importantly an incredible woman! What you do matters. You are making the lives of others more beautiful through being you.”
I envisioned my husband scooting in beside me as I hunched over the kitchen table, without my asking, and folding the wrinkled beach towels. I dream about the day when he notices the kids’ laundry baskets piled high and nudges them to throw in a load or vacuums the visible dust and crumbs and dirt gathering on the stairs.
But more than help, if I’m honest, all I want is to be witnessed.
I want a compassionate witness next to me. Someone who sees my tears and hard work. Someone who hears my sighs and groans, the sounds of what it means to be human.
This is what I long to give away the most to those in my presence, perhaps because I’m so desperately needy for it myself.
I know how it changes me to have a kindred companion join me, even if for a few minutes, while I walk my path. They don’t come to criticize or offer their advice, but they come to join me and extend their healing presence.
You just know they know.
They don’t even have to say anything.
They’ve cultivated the ability to read the room and read your room, the place deep inside where you feel lonely, confused, or bitter. They know where to stand, how to be, and what to say and when. They are the people in your life, or maybe more accurately, the person in your life, who helps carry the load of laundry up the stairs and the load of everyday burdens without asking questions.
They are aware of you and how much sweat and effort you put forth (usually behind the scenes) and more importantly they are amazed, not concerned!
They think you are absolute magic.
They see you and think – this person is deep and interesting.
They don’t need you to necessarily list out your dreams and visions or your wildly imperfect parts because they know. They know you have those written down on the cracks of your wounded heart.
In their presence, you feel seen.
Whether or not a salary lands in your bank account to confirm your significance to society, having someone as a compassionate witness to your little life is all you need to make it through another day.