One day, when my children were fairly young, I discovered that I had the power of invisibility. While this discovery was totally unexpected, invisibility has been a useful trait over the years.
My children were preparing for bed one night. They were somewhere around the ages of four, six, and eight. I had set them to the task of getting into their jammies and brushing their teeth in preparation for bed.
I was exhausted, as I so often am at the end of the day. I went in my room to lie down for a minute—my own mommy “time out”—while I waited for them. I started to zone out, my mind drifted, though I remained attentive. I remember over-hearing their kid conversation. My oldest was talking about something that had happened on the school bus that day, and the manner in which he spoke was just a little different than when he spoke to me. The tone in his voice as he relayed the event to his sibling was one of authority. It was pure kid-to-kid conversation, and as the oldest, he knew the most.
I heard my name mentioned in the conversation. Then I heard little footsteps in the hall, stopping at the door to my room. My room was dark, but light shone in from the hallway.
“Mommy?” a tentative voice asked into the darkness. I was tired and almost asleep. I didn’t answer. The footsteps retreated. “Do you know where Mommy is?” the little voice asked her little brother.
“No,” brother responded.
“I can’t find her,” said the little voice. She had barely looked, but brother didn’t know that. “Will you come downstairs with me to look for her?” And two sets of footsteps padded down the stairs and around the first floor while I puzzled over the fact that she had stood in the doorway of my room and not seen me lying on the bed. I heard a far-off voice inquiring into the dark basement. And then the footsteps came back up to the second floor.
“Where is she?” the two little ones continued to look for me as they conversed about my whereabouts. Hand in hand, they walked into my dark bedroom and passed inches from the foot of the bed as they checked the bathroom—also dark. They turned around and walked out the door, still calling to me despite my presence just a hair’s breadth away. I smiled in fleeting satisfaction that I was somehow invisible.
However, the discussion right outside my door was growing emotional and slightly panicky as the children considered how I could possibly have disappeared. “Hey you two,” I piped up. “I’m right here. You walked right by me.” To myself, I marveled that I could be invisible while I was in plain sight.
These days, it’s not so easy to be invisible. But when I am, I have learned to use my invisibility carefully. Sometimes, I try hard to conjure this power with no success; other times it just happens. Driving the car—especially with a car full of kids—I tend toward invisibility. Other times, I might be invisible from a different room.
No matter where I am when this power overtakes me, I have come to realize that in my times of invisibility, I must remain quiet and listen in order to get the greatest benefit.