I seldom write a “To Do List.” I have a day-planner type of calendar on my desk and I note obligations on it. But I don’t write a list of tasks to accomplish. Perhaps it’s too depressing knowing that my time and energy is limited. I’m just not a “To Do List” kind of girl.
But today was an exception. Today, I located some 3×5 index cards and jotted down a list and timetable. It went something like this:
Make dip/bake cookies
Hair & Makeup – 3 PM
Dinner in CrockPot – 3:30 PM
Ride to _____’s – 3:45 PM
Church – 4:30 PM
The list was written after I had already worked at my real job (on the computer) for about an hour. I finished up and headed to the kitchen by 12:15 PM and began cleaning up and baking cookies. I even put dinner into the CrockPot at about 2:30 PM–ahead of schedule–and by 3 PM, I had finished baking cut-out cookies (known to some people as “sugar cookies”) and Peanut-Butter blossoms (you know, those delicious little peanut butter cookies topped with Hershey’s kisses).
The dishwasher was humming along and I was about to head upstairs to begin primping (and spackling and doing all the things that 50-year old women have to do before appearing in public so people will not think they are ill or about to croak; it involves primer and concealer and lipstick and a curling iron).
Then I received a text message at 3:03 PM from one of my kids. It said, “Need to be leaving in 10 minutes.”
I found this message puzzling. What? Where? Why? A quick consultation with my husband revealed a terrible truth. The offspring in question had not coordinated his need for a ride with his dad’s schedule. In fact, they were both heading to the same location, but the son needed to arrive by 3:30 PM while my husband was not leaving our home until 3:30 PM.
This was a miscommunication. This was a problem. The son thought he had communicated his schedule to me but he apparently failed to take into account the limited brain-storage space I have for the details of other people’s lives. His brief mention of this obligation last Sunday did not really register with me at all. In other words, I had NO IDEA he thought I knew he needed a ride today.
So, instead of “Hair & Makeup” at 3 PM, I drove my son to his rehearsal while my husband finished showered. When I returned home 30 minutes later, I was thirty minutes behind schedule. I delivered another child to another location . . . then had about 15 minutes to do my make-up and hair and to get dressed.
We arrived at the Christmas Eve service five minutes before the starting time. Normally I am not a stickler for being on time (at some point, I just capitulated) but tonight I had to be on time because I had to read the Scripture passage before the sermon. And so, I did.
All was calm. All was bright.
Then we came home, ate dinner (fajitas in the CrockPot, who knew?) and then I worked a five hour shift.
Now, it’s late, so late it’s early, and I have to arrange gifts around the tree and stuff stockings before crawling into bed. Fortunately, the kids are old enough to value sleeping in at least a little.
I do have to note that while I was driving around in frantic irritation at the disruption of my schedule, I thought of Mary the mother of Jesus . . . how her life was disrupted. Aren’t children just the biggest disruption ever? That’s something to think about.
That thought did calm me down a little. And then I thought how maybe having a little more margin in my life might be a tiny bit helpful. And then I thought about my friend MaryKay reading a book about “margin” a long time ago and then my thoughts just ricocheted in a half a dozen directions and it’s lucky that I didn’t get into a traffic accident on the way home because I was so distracted by my thoughts and by my mild panic about the time. (Also, I might have said at some point, “So basically, I am the one who will look like CRAP tonight. Also? I will not be wearing clothes since I have NO TIME to get dressed!!”)
Merry Christmas to all and to all, a good-night!
Here’s a photo of my kids from ten years ago and a re-creation of the same photo today. You’re welcome.