Every night at dinner, the same thing happens: I ask one of my four children if they would like a certain drink or a scoop of vegetables.
“Would you like water or milk?” I may ask one of them.
“Could I get you some broccoli?” I might ask another.
And every night at dinner, the same thing happens: they all ignore me.
I honestly don’t know what it is with my family, but for some reason, whenever I talk, it feels like I’m talking into thin air. There’s no acknowledgement that I have spoken, no head turned my way, no response from any of the four children I have given life to whatsoever.
I might repeat myself, clear my throat or do that look that teachers give when they are waiting for their students to notice they have gone quiet, but usually, it warrants no response from my children. At this point, my husband might sense my growing frustration and loudly interrupt my children from whatever they’re in the midst of doing.
“Hey!” he’ll say. “Your mom is speaking to you!”
At which point, they’ll blankly look at me, the facial version of a “Huh?” and I will have to repeat the question I just posed twice, sighing loudly in the process. I wish I could say that I was exaggerating a little, but I’m not—this scenario plays itself out, over and over and over, morning, noon and night in my home. I speak and no one hears me. I swear, sometimes it feels like I’m invisible.
I’m the parent who’s at home, remembering who needs what book for school, what day my husband has a meeting, handing him his lunch every morning, reminding him about that one thing he needs to do today. I’m the one who asks about spelling tests and math tests and small hurts and is so-and-so back to being your friend today? I spend my days and nights seeing the visible—and invisible—needs and hurts and wants and desires of my family.
And sometimes? Well, I just wish they would see me in the same way.