Have you ever felt as if you were being watched? You can just sense that somewhere out of your own line of sight there is a pair of eyes following you, observing every move you make. You may begin to feel nervous. You may become acutely aware of what you are doing and how you are doing it. Most likely you will not be relaxed and will probably have a hard time acting "normal" under the pressure.
I happen to know tha I am being watched most of the time. How do I know this? Because the little pairs of eyes that are watching me are connected to little mouths. And these little mouths love to report what their little eyes see.
I can be standing at the sink and from the table I will hear, "She's putting soap on the sponge."
"Yeah, now she's filling the sink with water."
"Oh, yeah...and she's scrubbing the pan."
Or I may hear the following, "She's getting milk out of the fridge."
"Now she's getting a cup. Ooh, it's a glass cup!"
"Uh-huh. And now she's putting milk in her cup. I bet she's going to drink it."
And I just think, "Guys, I'm right here! I can hear everything you are saying about me!"
Everything I do is under scrutiny. I can't enter a room, leave a room, or go to the bathroom without at least one pair of eyes watching my every move. Even as I write this post there is a pair of eyes reading over my shoulder!
Having five sets of eyes watching me day in and day out is one thing. But the constant commentary is a totally different story. It's like if an Olympic athlete had an earbud to hear everything the commentators were saying about them and their performance while they were performing!
I have a particular memory from my childhood that strikes me as funny right about now. I was with my family at my grandparents' house. All of the aunts, uncles, and cousins were visiting, probably for a holiday. At a rough estimate I would say that there were at least 25 people in one fairly small house. Not just any 25 people but 25 very loud people (for the most part).
Being a part of that brood, I got used to the noise, but I didn't like it much. I learned that I could sneak off to a small room above the garage, curl up with a book, and only have to deal with the din of all the commotion happening downstairs. I was in such a corner of the house one evening when I heard an announcement for dinner. I didn't go down. I figured it would be a while before food was actually dished up and surely someone would come and get me before it was too late.
I don't know how long I was up there, but it became obvious that no one realized I was missing. Feeling a bit dejected, I wondered if anyone would ever know that I was gone. Would my parents? My siblings? A cousin, maybe? My grandma? When I could hear the sounds of a full-fledged family dinner going on below me, it hit me. I had been forgotten.
Of course, I didn't stay forgotten. My dad came in search for me at some point and I went downstairs to join the crowd.
If only I could be forgotten like that in this stage of life. Oh, the autonomy! Oh, the freedom! Time to go to a quiet corner and read a book without anyone saying, "Look, she's reading a book."
It's all about perspective, right? Being lost in a crowd of boisterous family members gets a little discouraging. Being watched on a moment by moment basis gets a little annoying. On one hand you want to get a little attention on yourself so you don't feel left out. On the other hand, to slip under the radar every once in a while would be refreshing.
For the time being I'll just stay under the watchful eyes of my children. I'm told that they will not always be this young and that one day they won't follow me to the bathroom. Hallelujah for the hope of privacy one day! ;)