Friday, July 23, 2010

Tools of the Trade

At what point in my life did my brain transfer to the hidden confines of a blank spiral bound notepad? Last week, my toddler daughters found my notebook and scribbled into it such that while I could still make a list on any given page, it just wasn't the same.  I tried bravely for three days to cope with the decorated pad but my list kept blurring with the artwork.  It just wasn't happening.

At the same time, I also noticed that all the pens and pencils had simultaneously evaporated from my purse, car and home.  There were still crayons and dry erase markers, (mostly green), but no normal adult writing utensils to speak of; I decided this was an errand that required top priority. 

The problem was, I had no place to write 1) Buy pens and notepad, and 2) nothing to write with if I decided to be a trooper and use the back of an opened envelope from the day's mail.   So the notepad slipped from my mind as I groped about the next day trying to remember to go to the drycleaner's, the play date at the cool park at 9:30, the tutor at 12 that had been moved to the next day and how many days it was until my son's birthday.  We missed one scheduled appointment for the Dentist and barely made it to another.  I forgot about getting the car serviced entirely.The week was coming apart at the seams, all for want of a pad and pencil. 

It was then I realized, I also lacked the desire to move.  I didn't want to patrol the bedrooms like I normally did, to scoop up clothes and turn off lights.  Absent my two tools for organization, I slipped into freefall chaos. With horror, the adult in me recognized that not only did I not have a clue what I needed to be doing because I didn't have a list, I lacked the will to do anything because I hadn't written it down.   It seemed all my thinking required documentation and all my spirit and enthusiasm to do something required a to-do list.  The paper held my brain and the pen held my will.  What was left in me was a compliant capable shell that needed marching orders.

After two more days of barely treading water with remembering the therapist came at 10, my oldest needed to get his picture taken at 5, to manage, I began using my children like human post-it notes.  "You! Remind me today that two of your sisters need hair cuts!"   "You!  Make sure you remind me to call your friend's mom because I need her to help with the fall festival."  "You! Dinner tonight is pasta shells and a spinach salad.  Remember that!" It worked pretty well for the older ones, but the messages got distorted, forgotten or deliberately altered the younger down the line the child doing the memory recall was.  "We can have ice cream for dinner right?"  "NO Editing the message!"  I warned.  Things were getting serious.  

Pity and possibly the very real desire to escape having to remember Mom's list in addition to her own, my oldest daughter typed up a list of things to do for me on the computer and printed it up.  It was admittedly  self serving, with little extras like "Stop at Borders" and "Buy milkshakes at Chick Fillet." and "Despicable Me is supposed to be a good movie. Maybe we could go see it since it is so hot and then you could relax."  I smiled and asked her to reprint the list but add one more thing.  "Buy a notepad and pen." 

I felt sanity and serenity pour into me as I snatched the sheet still wet from the printer.  Ahhhhh!  Mommy's back in business. 


Karen said...

Maybe a good friend could give you a small bound notebook and silver pen for your birthday ...

MightyMom said...

are you living my life???

or am I living yours??????

you should have SEEN the chaos that ensued when our door came down....along with the large famly calendar....for 3 months. I put it back up on the new door 2 days ago...and suddenly there's peace in the universe!

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!