The "To Do" List
Published: August 10, 2008
Last weekend, I made up a “to do” list of things that needed to get done for the start of the week. It was listed numerically according to importance, and I had planned to “check it off” as I went through each task.
On Monday morning, I got up and went down to the kitchen to review my “to do” list over a coffee. It was fairly long, and I knew I had a busy day ahead of me. When my children got up, I explained to them that mommy had a lot to do that day, and that I would need their help to get it all done.
They both nodded earnestly, and my son was excited about being a helper for the day.
As we sat and ate breakfast, I chatted about all the things we were going to get done on mommy’s busy day. However, they were both engrossed in their favourite DVD that to their horror; suddenly froze.
“Oh, no!” my son exclaimed, “the DVD is stuck!”
“Ok, ok,” I said with a wave of my hand, “I can fix it”. I stood wiping the DVD off of sticky fingerprints from undeniable sources, and pushed the DVD back in again. Only to have it freeze again minutes later.
My son and daughter wailed, as I continued my battle with the DVD. Finally after fifteen minutes of wiping and re-wiping, it began to work again. “Hurray!” they both cheered with their hands in the air. “Mommy fixed it!”
After breakfast, I tried to hurry them along to get their clothes on for the day, however a quick game of superheros had to be played on our way up to their rooms.
After the superhero game was over, and another twenty minutes had passed, my son wanted to be the one to pick out his clothes for the day.
“Ok”, I said smiling.
I knew that it was very important for him to pick out his own clothes to reflect his independence. He had talked about his favourite shirt with the soccer guys on it, the night before.
As I dressed my daughter who happily smiled at her beautiful pink shirt and short set that I bought her a couple of weeks ago, we heard my son in the next room groaning.
“What’s wrong?” I asked with concern as we entered his room.
“My shirt that I want to wear isn’t here!” he said with concern.
I had a sinking feeling that is was the one with the soccer guys on it. I rummaged through his drawers but could not locate it.
“Maybe we choose a different shirt today,” I suggested.
“But Moooom!” he wailed, “that was the one I wanted to wear today!”
“Let me go check the dryer and see if it’s there – I am sure it is,” I said reassuringly, not really knowing where it was.
When I entered the laundry room I opened the dryer to discover a bunch of wet clothes sitting in it. It appeared that I had forgotten to turn the dryer on. And as I spied inside I caught a glimpse of the soccer players, all scrunched up, in the back of the dryer.
I rolled my eyes and looked at my watch. This would take at least a half an hour to dry.
“Honey,” I called upstairs, “the shirt is in the dryer, but it isn’t dry….”
My son wailed again, and I knew that he would be really disappointed if he couldn’t wear his favouite shirt.
“Ok – I am turning the dryer on right now,” I said reluctantly.
I went back to the kitchen and looked down at my list. It was already too late to do three of the items I wanted to do. I sighed and went upstairs to help my son with the rest of his clothes for the day.
After the shirt dried and my son was beaming happily, we headed to the door to put our shoes on. “Where are your sister’s shoes?” I asked my son out loud, as I rummaged through the closet.
“I don’t know!” my son said with a shrug, as he chased her around the living room. I questioned my two year old daughter - only to get a smile.
I looked at my watch, another thing was going to get missed on my “to do” list.
After another twenty minutes of shoe detective work, we finally located them outside on the deck.
As I put her shoes on, she looked up at me and patted her tummy saying “Yummm”. This was her way of telling me she was hungry for lunch.
“Really?” I said disheartened. “Are you sure?” She nodded, and smiled.
“Ok – a quick lunch,” I said as I took both their shoes off and ushered them in to the kitchen.
I made them both their favourite sandwiches; and as they sat munching away, I stared down at my list. There were only two things left on it that I could do that day, otherwise I knew the day would be a write off.
After lunch, we finally piled in to the car and headed off to run my errands. One of the errands was a trip to a meat store. However, to my horror as we drove in to the parking lot, I discovered they were closed for the day.
I stopped the car and stared with disbelief.
“Mommy, is the store closed?” my son asked with interest.
“Yep,” I sighed, staring at him in the review mirror.
“Can we go to the park to play?”
I looked down at my list, and knew my list would have to wait for another day.
“Ok,” I said with a nod, “let’s go.” And they both clapped.
That night, as I tucked my son in to bed, I mentioned to him in passing that mommy never got any of her “to do” things done that day.
“But mommy, he exclaimed “yes you did!” He then began to list off all the things that I had done during the day including fixing the DVD, drying his favourite shirt, hunting down his sister’s shoes, making his yummy sandwich and taking them both to the park.
“You did a lot, mommy,” he said reassuringly and he wrapped his arms around me and gave me a kiss on the cheek.
And as I closed his bedroom door, I realized that although my “to do” list didn’t have any of those things he mentioned on it – they definitely were the ones that mattered the most.