Advanced MotherWords exercise

I recently completed an excellent writing class, Advanced MotherWords, taught by Kate Hopper. One of the exercises was to write about “where is your mind?” I chose to write about my lists… I am a list-writer, and my mind is on my lists quite a bit. I wrote about a list I was making earlier in the year. I was fortunate to accompany my husband on a work trip for him, but a glorious non-work trip for me!

  • On Monday, Shelby has dance at 6pm. She will need to wear her black leotard and pink tights. Her dance shoes should be in her dance bag.
  • The bus has been coming two precious minutes earlier than it normally does.
  • Jakob needs to write his spelling words twice on Monday night. Look closely at his a’s, so that he closes them completely..they can look like u’s.
  • Ellie will want to have lunch on preschool on Wednesday, but make sure the crusts are not on the peanut butter sandwich, and she will remind you to put her lunch bag in the school’s refrigerator.

I sit at the computer typing up the kids’ schedules. Typing rapidly, I attempt to get the words down before they leave my mind. I have lists in my head, in the green covered notebook I like to carry everywhere, and in my calendar. And, yet, I am making a new list, a list for my mother in law. For the next ten days, I will be on a trip with my husband. Easily reachable, but I will not be in charge of every detail that I know by heart.

Crossing off a completed task on my lists produces a sense of accomplishment. Sometimes, I use a simple line through the task, and at times, I scribble or color the words out fully so that you can barely read what was once written. My lists are hardly ever far from me, but never on my cell phone, I value my calendar, my handwritten lists with the notes in the margins, the physical proof I am getting things done. I will even write a completed task on the list that I had not previously put on the list, just so I can mark it off.

I will not be marking off this list, however. The list will hang on the fridge with the medical consent forms, the birthday invitations, and the school lunch menu, a black clip with the local power company’s logo on it will neatly hold the papers together so they can easily be accessed. When I return, no tasks will be crossed off, they will remain clipped on the fridge, but probably in a different order than they were originally placed. My mother in law is more than capable, extremely loving, and so very gracious to me and my family, but we are different in our organizational skills. Her calendar sits on the fridge, most of the squares remain white save a few appointments written on the occasional box. There are no lists in the margins.

My list swells into tips and thoughts on how I do pick up on Wednesdays, the day that also includes speech therapy, dance lessons, and sometimes, baseball fundamentals. I have drinks and snacks ready, knowing that Ellie doesn’t care for goldfish crackers, but will eat pretzel goldfish, and who can just walk into his/her appointment on his/her own, but who needs help with the bulky door and wants a hand held.

Is it that I know my children so well, want my absence to not be felt deeply, or do not want their schedules disrupted, or is that I have a difficult time knowing that their worlds do go on without me?

Back to the list….

  • On Thursday, Jakob has a field trip. The permission slip has already been turned in, but he will need a snack and a sweatshirt.
  • Ellie sometimes falls asleep in the car on the way home from preschool.
  • Shelby will need to return the school library books on Friday. They are in the basket by the front door.