I sit in the passenger seat, wiping my sweatshirt over my streaky sunglasses while H locks up the beach house. He crawls in behind the steering wheel and I push the hollow sigh right out of me. “You know, I didn’t get any photos of the girls,” I tell him.
“She probably wanted it that way,” he says with a grin.
“Yeah,” I shake my head. “You’re probably right.”
A few hours earlier, their four voices trail off into a muffled high pitched giggle as they close the door behind them on the first floor of the beach house. I whip my head around, look to see if she took it with her. But my camera, it’s still lying on the kitchen table in the same place.
My daughter doesn’t want me to take photos of her anymore. It was my last ditch effort to capture her seventeenth birthday celebration with three of her friends. I assured her several times it was okay to take my camera on their beach walk before the four hour car ride back home. Capture photos the way she wants to remember the day. And at least there would be something.
I pick up the camera, carry it outside and wait on the second floor deck watching for the crown of their heads beneath. “Hey girls,” I call out when I see their braided locks. My voice startles their jaunt down the steps under a tree canopy, but they keep on walking.
Not one of them looks up at the sound of my voice.
Am I invisible?
Poised with the camera propped up in my hands, I watch as they cross the street, parading single file up the sandy dune and slowly disappear fanning out on shore. And she never looks back.
There is a tendency to think that when you feel invisible it means you’re not valuable. Lately, I’ve spent too much time looking at statistics, worrying about what I should be doing, fixated on turning heads. I’m not my best when I confuse who I am with what I do.
And the truth is I need to feel the weight of being unseen. To realize I care too much about being noticed. Even as a mother.
Because most of what we do, the way we leave our imprint on the world, will never be seen. But God sees. We are not invisible to Him.
As I feel the breeze blowing my ponytail I wonder, is God waiting for me to turn my head and smile in surrender, while I’m trying to harness time and bottle it?
Yeah, I think this is exactly the way He wanted it. No pictures, just memories of watching His girls grow up. Invisible memories made for holy eyes in a sacred spot.