Sunday, January 06, 2008

LIVING THE LIST


The morning breaks to the sound of multiple alarm clocks. Snooze buttons smacked and all is quiet. It is so tempting to give in to sleep, but no rest for the weary; even on Saturday. Cadence has an 8:00 basketball game and Tyler needs to be somewhere at 8:00 as well; unhappy terms for the night owl that lays beside me, but divide and conquer we must. I nudge his shoulder, knowing the alarm clock barely made a ripple in his sleep.


Coffee made, laundry started, dogs out, birds up and showers underway, I sit down to scribble my ‘to do’ list. After basketball, I promised to take Cadence for the first skate of the season. The town had placed a rink on the green three days prior and it is scheduled to open today. After skating, I would take the gang to return some Christmas clothing that was of course, all wrong. After that, I will dismantle the tree and pack up the remains of Christmas while I have men to help haul the prickly, drying beauty outside, creating a new round of cleaning with piles of pine needles everywhere. I grab a second piece of paper and begin a little list for Brad as well.


Fix the vacuum cleaner,

Take the tree outside,

Assist me in stuffing Christmas back into the eves of the house…


I place his list beside his coffee cup as these things are generally better seen and not heard this early in the morning.


The pace of the day is fast and in step. The basketball game is close but ends with a win. A quick stop home and we bounce right back out to the green, new skates and coffee in hand.


“Mom, please! I look like an Uumpa Luumpa and it’s not even cold out. Why can’t I skate in just jeans?” Cadence moans.


“Because you have not skated in two years and you will indeed have a few falls. You’ll end up with wet pants and be freezing and uncomfortable. Trust me; I know a few things.” I look in the rearview mirror at her disappointment. She’s only nine and already, it’s all about fashion. “After you get a little practice if you’re not falling much, you can peel off the warm up pants and skate in your jeans.” I tell her, easing the frown on her face a bit.


Rink side, we sit on the bench to put on her skates and she looks longingly at the young teenage girls skating in their jeans. Her eyes flash from them to me. “Fine.” I give in, as she whips off the outer layer.


She skates as if it is an everyday event, falling only once or twice. I call Brad on the phone to tell him he should join us. He agrees, but just for a bit as he has added to the ‘to do’ list that I left him and needs my van to run to the dump. Moments later, a crack in the far corner sends water over the ice and the rink is closed. The recreation department announces that Mill Pond is opened for skating and we join the crowd in migration to the pond.


Little by little, the pond fills with skaters; moms and dads teaching toddlers, the high school girl’s hockey team starts a game in the far corner, and teens and tweens move in clusters around the ice.


I make my way over to the benches that surround the bonfire to chat with friends. After about and hour, my ‘to do’ list begins to twitch in my pocket and I check the time on my phone. Brad arrives and I make a run for lunch and hot chocolate and contemplate leaving to run my list of errands alone. The warm cracking fire is pulling me closer and I decide to give her a little more time. An hour later, Brad has his fill of skating and heads home to get things done. Conversations around me are verses of the weather is expected to get warmer so this might be the last day and but they’re having such fun. The chorus of “It’s the perfect day” rises over the Norman Rockwell scene.


I think about the other list. THE LIST; my New Year’s Resolution list. I agreed to be fun; to appreciate the day to day. I agreed to do what was important, in spite of not getting things done. “They’ll remember this day forever,” one mother said as if hearing my silent debate. “Don’t you remember days like these when you were a kid?” Indeed I did. It’s just that it wasn’t planned and I had all of those other things to accomplish.


The list in my pocket twitched. Would it really matter if we didn’t take the tree down today? Was it really so important to return things to the store today? Does it really matter if the dust lingers one more day? I reach into my pocket and toss my ‘to do’ list into the fire and it is instantly gone; I am obligation free.


The sun hangs low in the sky as the day approaches 4:00. Soon it would be dark. Cadence has skated for five straight hours. "Fifteen more minutes," I tell her.


“Five straight hours!” She announces to those around her; a world record in her orbit.


“A good excuse to order pizza.” One mom tells another.


The perfect day, I think.


Back at home, the boys are playing a video game and Brad is napping on the couch. The vacuum cleaner stands in the corner, repaired and ready. The tree smiles, still shimmering, “Tomorrow,” I tell them, as I pick up the phone to order pizza.

5 comments:

Carrie Wilson Link said...

This is wonderful! Wonderful writing, wonderful snippet of family life, wonderful look into the inner workings of the mind. LOVE that you took that list and threw it into the fire!

You know what has helped me? I am NOT a procrastinator, so I force myself to say, "What can wait until 'tomorrow'?" Most things can, and some things, like skating on the right weather day, cannot.

Terry Whitaker said...

I am so proud of you! Aren't you proud of yourself? Isn't being fun, fun?

Deb said...

This brought tears to my eyes. I'm inspired by the burning of the list and your willingness to stick to your great new year's resolutions.

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

LOVE this! Love how you heard Cadence and let her take orr the outer layer. Love how you honored Brad's morning and left him a note. Love how the note twitched in your pocket and loved seeing it burn.
Love how you respected the day and allowed it to unfold. Love how you shared it with us. Thank you.

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

PS Love the title too.