I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the daily to-do list, the schedule, and the lesson planners. I spend hours prepping and preparing, only to find myself falling short of filling in all the boxes. We’d get so close, but then not finish history. Or the laundry would get folded, but not put away. Or the menu plan thought in my head, but not written down.
And I felt guilt. This guilt led to frustration. The frustration led to feeling inadequate. The inadequate led to overwhelm.
So, I’d try again. With a better list, a newer curriculum, and a fancier planner. Fail. I still fell short. This time it was math, and dishes, and yard-work. On and on and on.
And now, I felt miserable.
My incomplete to-do list glared at me, boasting of the items I never got to. Instead of seeing the tasks completed, my focus was on all those areas where I fell short. That’s not freedom. Then, today, as I was driving a green train on a track with Elijah images of the half-filled to-do list filled my head. No longer was my train following the right track — rather now, I began to hurry Elijah’s playtime. I raced my train around and told Elijah I needed to get back to work. Driving trains wasn’t on the list.
But, should it have been? Isn’t driving scuffed-up metal trains through make-shift mountains more important then the wrinkly load of laundry waiting to be shoved into drawers? How come cooking pumpkin bars with Chloe never earned a spot on the list? Or snuggling Samuel? Or talking with Brennan?
Where’s that to-do list?
I allowed a piece of paper, with scratched up notes to trump the beauty in the everyday. In the moments that could be lost by simply moving to the next task — without seeing glorious opportunity in the windows of free time. And I beat myself up for not checking off tasks when those tasks, at least most of them, can wait. Elijah will only share trains with me for so long. Samuel will grow. Brennan will move out. This time is now.
My perfectly incomplete to-do list is perfectly complete.
And I am okay with that. I really, really am.