This week, my littlest and I went to the park, just the two of us. We’ve been going more often and it has been fun to watch her confidence increase with each visit. Throughout our time there, she would have moments where she would stop playing. She would look at me and pat the toddler-sized bench, stair or the curb of the path and say, “Sit here, Mommy.” If I didn’t move quickly, she would continue, “Mommy. Mommy. Sit heeere.” And then I would sit. Sometimes across from her. Sometimes beside her. And we would talk. Occasionally I would ask her questions. She would move her hands directing a conversation filled with words. I couldn’t make them all out and yet the two of us would converse engaging in an animated and beautiful dialogue.
“Sit here, Mommy.” Her words were music to my heart. I couldn’t help but smile each time I heard them. This mama’s prayer is that as she grows she will continue to invite me to sit by her side. And that there will always be a place for me beside her. For as long as she will have me.
But with that, my hope is that I will have the mindfulness to stop and take a seat. That I will accept her invitation to “sit here,” knowing that time is fleeting. I want her to come to me when she wants to celebrate but also when her heart is in need of comforting. I want to hold her hand, offer my shoulder to lean on, and offer her refuge in my arms as I do now. I want her to know that what she has to say is important and worthy of my listening ears.
So many things in life pull for our attention. We feel a sense of urgency to complete, produce, and fix. But what if we made more of an effort to stop even for a few minutes, while we have their attention, before they’ve moved on to the next thing? What if we let our email inboxes fill up and our “to do” lists grow, in exchange for our hearts filling up and our relationships growing stronger? What if we stopped refreshing and scrolling and searching and liking and texting and instead engaged in the most meaningful conversation our day will bring — one filled with babbles and smiles? What if we stopped staring into our phones and computer screens and stared into the eyes of our babies allowing them to see that they are far more interesting than viral articles or the things we covet in our virtual shopping baskets?
Because if we aren’t careful one day, we may look up from our laptops and phones only to find out that our babies have grown; the spot beside them once reserved for us is taken, and an invitation for us to sit down no longer being extended.
May we sit with our babies. May that be our and their normal. A beautiful representation of the magic that can be found amongst the everyday and the seemingly ordinary. Togetherness.
May we listen and love earnestly and with intent even if we have to stop for a moment in order to do so.
May we delight in the greatest gift we have been given — our family.
“Listen earnestly to anything [your children] want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.” ~ Catherine M. Wallace