seet, mama


I once heard, from a very wise Orthodox Jewish mother of nine, that our children are divinely inspired to be ours. And that the challenges they present us with are exactly the challenges we need in order to become better people.

It’s a lovely thought, isn’t it? And quite true. Fergus challenges my patience many, many times daily, and heaven knows I am an impatient person. He moves very slowly, but then, I tend to move too quickly. When my kids frustrate me, it gives me much-needed perspective to consider that God wants it that way.

Maddie, at 18 months, has already shown, by her headstrong and bossy ways, that she intends to challenge me quite well in her turn. For now, at least, she is still a cuddly mama’s girl, and in her eyes I can do no wrong. Still, she challenges me:

“Seet, mama? Seet? Seet?”

That’s “Sit, Mommy.” And she says it all day long. If she’s watching Blue’s Clues, she wants my company on the couch next to her. If she’s having a leisurely lunch of scrambled eggs and peas, she wants me sitting at the table as well.

I really appreciate her invitations. I can’t remember anyone else in my family inviting me to take a seat. However, what she doesn’t understand is that her sitting quietly = my opportunity to run around our house like a madwoman, getting 100 things done. How can I just sit at the kitchen table when there’s a dishwasher to be unloaded? How can I sit for 22 minutes of “Ni Hao, Kai-Lan!” when there are brothers to bathe and overdue blog posts to write?

Still, she beckons. “Seet, mama?” And I know that she’s right. There’s nothing more important, at that moment, than sitting down with my daughter, and keeping her company. So I do it. For five minutes, anyway. All too soon, I’ll have all the time in the world to unload the dishwasher, and she’ll want nothing to do with me.