A Day and a List

To-Do list scrawled in a spiral notebook on a Sunday night, long enough to wrap around the block.  Monday, it says.  Looking with the eye of reality, I add a dash, and then the word Wednesday.  Monday-Wednesday.   It is grace I am giving myself, permission to not complete the whole kaboodle in a day.

Monday morning I rise and greet the day.  And my list.  No need to wrack my brain for what’s important.  It is all there, right down to ‘rock the 4 year old’.  In among the normal school-day happenings (science, math, writing, reading, and an occasional jog around the house for a kid whose brain needs some air) I weave bits of my list.  A two minute phone call is shoe-horned in as kids scratch notes in science journals.  Compassion-kid letters are written sentence by sentence as I check math and hear the 7 year old read.  The buzz of my phone connects me via text-message with my kids who are away. By lunchtime, working bit by bit, I’ve  even managed to clean off my ‘desk’ (aka, the heap of papers near my corner of the couch).

In the afternoon, with a satisfying chunk of my list crossed off,  I gather two of my children to go buy tennis shoes. They glow at the unexpected treat.  It is an errand I have been meaning to do for at least a week. One grew 2 shoe sizes over the summer, and the other has a hole  ALL the way through the bottom of one shoe.

Inside Wal-Mart, blessedly unhurried, we peruse the shoes. Find winners.  Wander through the food aisles to scoop up $0.40/lb frozen turkeys (limit 2) and $1.50/lb butter.  A blaring announcement over the loudspeaker is happy serendipity: large bags of chocolate bars have been marked down to 25 cents each.  I grab two bags, thinking they will do quite nicely for birthday treats.

Bursting in the door at home, happy children show dad shiny shoes.  “Thanks for the shoes, Dad!” they chorus, coached by me in the car on the ride home.  Dad admires, taking pleasure in seeing his children nicely outfitted.  “Tell your mom thanks too. She’s the one who noticed you needed shoes.”

He and I talk about our daughter’s pending 5th birthday, and turn to ask her if she’d like to go out for her birthday dinner tonight.  We have a tradition of taking each child out for dinner alone sometime during their birthday month.  She eagerly agrees.  I get home-staying children settled with dinner and a movie,  in the care of 17 and 15 year old brothers.  Kisses all around and we head off– to Red Robin, per our little one’s preference.

She’s in bliss, slurping up strawberry lemon-aid and cheese sticks and corn dogs and the undivided attention of both mom and dad.  At the tail end of dinner she is surrounded by waiters, who hand her ice cream and tell her to stand on her seat so they can give a loud clapping rendition of the birthday song.

“Were you scared?” we ask her when they leave.

“Not very much,” she says, serene, happily dipping spoon into sundae.  On the way out the door she carefully hands me her leftover lemon-aid, to better free her hands to receive the balloon that she knows also comes with with dinner.

Quiet ride home.  PJ’s and stories and bedtime kisses for all the younger ones.  Then off to bed they trundle.  In the sudden quiet, I realize I’m tired.  Really tired.

I’m determined to do one last bit of my list, but am fading fast. My husband tugs papers from my hands and heads to the bedroom to copy papers on my behalf.  A lesser man might simply say do it tomorrow, but he senses my need to finish, and steps in to make it so.  My 15 year old son brings me a glass of water, ice crushed, not cubed.  My 17 year old fiddles with my Pandora and soon my favorite songs are playing.

Enough.   For today I have done enough.

Now rest.


  1. Jacqueline Strawder says:

    Sounds like a beautiful day in the life of a Mom …..I am 51 now and my last 2 kids heading out the door are 18 (a senior) and 16 (a junior) …I can’t say the list gets any smaller…but it is different…and you will miss those hectic days (sometimes). YOU are so blessed to have a wonderful husband that encourages and helps you…I enjoy your blog and reading about your little piece of the world.

  2. What a lovely post, thanks for sharing! You really have a way with words!

  3. Ah, your busy Mom Monday sure beats my root canal in the morning and a long afternoon nap.

    So nice to read of your family and happiness.

    And butter at $1.50 a pound! WooHoo!

  4. I have to know where the 40 cents/lb turkeys are!! Kroger? Please say Kroger…or maybe Walmart?? : )

    I love lists, too! I bought the weekly list from Motivated Mom’s a few months ago and I love it!! I love to scratch off what I’ve accomplished…it feels great! Did I mention I love lists?! Ha! : )

  5. I love falling into bed exhausted, but I hate getting up the next morning! I’m a list lover myself. I rarely get it all done, but I’m sure I get a lot more done than I would without the list.

    I haven’t seen turkey under$.90 lb in a long time. And butter for $1.50 lb is a wonderful buy! Great blessings!

  6. Yes, Wal-Mart is the place for cheap turkeys this week! 🙂

  7. Lovely post. Lists are wonderful things but I like your Monday morning addendum of adding the – Wed.

  8. Your Walmart has better prices than ours does. 🙁

    Your kids all sound very sweet. I’m a list maker too and have a hard time going to bed until it’s all done, so I know the feeling!

  9. congratulations on a beautiful day!

  10. Mary, thanks! I’ll head over to Walmart tomorrow!

  11. what a wonderful day, filled with lovely memories! if only they could all be that… but, then i guess those speical days would nto be so special!

  12. LOVE IT! Thanks for sharing!!!! 😉

  13. Awesome.
    I wish my days went so well……. [:-)
    Love, Rachel

  14. love this…

  15. I’m touched by how your guys took care of you (who takes care of everyone). What a sweet family you have! 🙂

  16. What a sweet group of men you have in your life. Kuddos to you!
    My sons recent birthday dinner out request was to Red Robin as well. The bottomless fries always pull him in.

  17. LOVE that you get what life is all about- all of these little moments which really are the BIG moments of life, building this happy home for your children, appreciating your sweet husband, making time for each child- you are a big inspiration for many people, I am sure of that!

  18. Sounds like a busy one. I’ll be stopping by again…It’s a bit different to my usual stop off for parenting stuff.


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