We approached the forty-nine-story skyscraper, and the doorman opened the large glass door for Mom, as he probably did every day. He smiled, nodded, and said, “Welcome, Mrs. Diller.” When he noticed me quickly darting in the door behind her, he added, “Well, hello, Ms. Diller! Are you going to work today too?”
A grin spread across my face from ear to ear, and I quickly answered, “I am!” Then I hurried to catch up with my mother’s fast pace as she headed toward the elevator doors.
A large hand reached out and held the elevator door open for Mom, and I quickly slid in behind her. The tall young man dressed in a suit and tie selected her office floor, and I wondered how he knew what floor she was going to. Without a word, he nodded to her and then stood silently. Mom didn’t say a word, nor did she look at the young man.
I felt I needed to break the silence and confidently blurted out, “I’m going to work with my mom.”
He grinned but didn’t reply. At that moment the elevator doors slid open, and he exited.
“Mom, why didn’t he speak?” I asked, wondering how she could just stand there and not say hello or good morning to someone standing right next to her.
“It’s just the way it is. Well, you’ll understand when you are older.” Mom fell silent as the door slid open on her floor.
We made our way down the hall, heading to her corner office while people rushed toward her as she passed their desks. They handed her notes and a coffee, and it wasn’t until we reached her assistant that she seemed to look at anyone. I watched as her assistant hurried out some important business matters and then added, “Your nine o’clock is in the small meeting room.” She handed Mom a folder and hurriedly walked back to her desk.
We walked into Mom’s office, and I immediately ran to the large windows overlooking the city and became mesmerized by the spectacular view. “The cars look so little from up here,” I said as I noticed her going through her notes.
She placed everything on her desk in neat little piles and tossed some items in the garbage can. Before she even looked up at me, she asked, “Are you coming to my meeting?”
My eyes lit up with excitement. “Yes!” I exclaimed.
“Well, let’s go!” she said.
As we walked down another hall, I quickly followed behind but not without noticing something odd in the small copy room. I tapped Mom on the arm, and she looked down at me and said, “You can be here, but I don’t want to hear anything from you. Is that understood?” Her face was stern as she looked into my eyes. A ping of disappointment ran through me as I nodded. I needed to tell her something before she entered the meeting room, but she’d already turned away, dismissing me. I swallowed hard and slowly stepped into the room behind her. From that moment on, I felt invisible!
The meeting room had large windows with a wonderful view of the city and a large oval-shaped oak table with nice high-backed chairs that swiveled. Extra chairs were pushed away from the table and placed along the end walls next to a beautiful antique dresser with a lamp and a small bronze. At the other end of the room hung a beautiful painting of a tropical flower. The interior wall was glass with thick drapes hung for privacy. I was sitting in one of the fancy chairs at the end of the room, far away, while the adults had their meeting. I felt I was a mere unplugged lamp in the corner of the room.
My gaze moved from the people in the room to the partial view I had of the tops of the other skyscrapers and the small slit in the drapes covering the glass wall. Through the drapes, I noticed several people rushing around, dropping their notes and folders, and running. Leaning farther out from my chair, I pulled the curtain to get a better look at the commotion. My eyes widened, and I swallowed hard as I let go of the curtain. It dropped back into place, hiding the scene from the hall. I raised my hand and looked at my mother, bouncing in my seat and trying to gain her attention. Her eyes spoke volumes, but I had to tell her! “Mom, someone is running in the hall—”
She cut me off and said to the others in the room, “I’m sorry for the interruption, everyone. This is my daughter and it’s ‘bring your daughter to work’ day.” Then she looked my direction and said, “This is not the time to tattle on someone running in the hall. That will have to wait!”
The others in the room giggled and fluttered out, “How cute is she!”
My face had reddened when my mom told the others I was tattling. I was not! Well, maybe I was telling her that people were running, but that was not the point. I was trying to tell them something was outside—maybe chasing people. When Mom and I hurriedly walked past the copy room, I’d thought I saw a stuffed monkey sitting on the floor. Then, as I peeked out the curtains for another look, I saw that it was a monkey running around the cubicles. A real monkey!
Dismissed and unheard… Did you think it was right that the mom basically rolled her eyes and didn’t believe what her daughter was saying mattered? Should the mom have listened?
If the people were just rushing around and there wasn’t any foul play, no harm. However, it was a monkey on the loose! The little girl was trying to warn others there was a monkey inside the office building. But being dismissed by her mother and the other’s laughing, unfortunately, left the little girl feeling unheard, dismissed, and misunderstood for years to come.
The feeling of UNHEARD is real! As we actively work on our own human flaws, one of our most important skills that needs attention is our ability to listen! Not just hearing someone speak but being fully present by actively listening, offering complete and total non-judgement without fixing their issues, and responding appropriately to validate their feelings.
Let’s all be heard. Let’s all listen to one another. To be heard is to motivate people, and there would be fewer misunderstandings between us all.