Last night, before bed, I made a to-do list for myself. Like most of my lists, it was ambitious...but that has never before hindered my enthusiasm for lists. I never expect to wade through all the things I've pencilled down. Rather, it helps me sort through those things I have considered doing, not expect to do.
For example, my to-do list included several phone calls (to the doctor to book an appointment, to the farmer where we get our pigs to say a belated thanks and we'd like more next year, to the friend who is lending me a DVD of Little House on the Prairie while my husband is away, and so on). My list also included making chocolates for gifting, working on the gluten-free sourdough starter, and cleaning out the fridge. Also of importance were the homeschool tasks to finish up so we could take a proper break over the holidays away from spelling words and math problems. I wanted to clean up the barn a little for the sheep and spend some time with all three dogs. The list also detailed various craft projects to hurry and begin, finish up the last batch of Christmas cards, block two knitted gifts, and wash the kid's woollens. Yesterday I bought some outdoor Christmas lights (a first!) that I had wanted to string in the plum tree outside our dining area. And perhaps, most importantly, I really wanted to sit down with each of my three kids and do a little reading with them.
However...as all of you know, Life has other plans for list makers.
I had not planned on the need to chop some kindling before lighting the fire first thing this morning. I had not planned on clearing enough counter space to make smoothies for breakfast. I had not planned on the cat barf on my bed when I went to get dressed, nor the near flood in the downstairs bathroom. And on and on...by 2pm we were back on track to finishing up the first task of the day ~ homeschool lessons. I had checked nothing off my list. Nothing. And then, the phone rang.
My friend wanted to know when we were leaving to come to her place. Oh, dear! I had totally forgotten that we had organized a Hannukah celebration (our first ever!) with my friend's family who had emigrated from Israel. Gratefully, my kids were outside already, so I grabbed some chocolates that we wrapped in tinfoil on the way to their house. And when we walked in, I was struck by the very same scene that I had left at my home...kids running amok (now, though, there were 13 of them) and a house that appeared very lived in. Instantly, I was at ease. I sighed happily. The other two mamas there laughed with me on the sheer hilarity of trying to tidy a home when you are a homeschooler and the kids are always underfoot!
However, looking back, I realize some things did happen that weren't part of my list...my kids played together for 2 hours today, and they never needed me once to help them settle any disputes that arose. Harmony. I fed my children really well with smoothies and toast for breakfast, homemade miso noodle soup for lunch, and a homegrown roast chicken for dinner. Nourishment. We did go outside, briefly, to wander about and gleefully tumble in the new-fallen snow. Joy. And we did celebrate a festival of lights, make latkes, sing in Hebrew, and shine in the company of others. Peace.
Judging by all that...harmony, nourishment, joy, and peace...I'd say we accomplished all we needed to and more. Besides, I can always save that list for another day.
Wishing that you each find time to let go of your own lists during the next week, and take a momet to reflect on all the harmony, nourishment, joy and peace you bring to your own family.