Wednesday, December 16, 2015


I come from a long line of list-makers.  As far back as I can remember, my grandfather, my mother and my father all kept a running list of things to do. My grandfather Gop kept lists on small pieces of paper that were stacked neatly on the sideboard.

My keenest memory is of the list my parents (mostly my dad) kept on the bulletin board over our supper table. It was written in the tiniest possible print, carefully numbered and neatly stacked in columns on the page. As the tasks were completed, they were marked through with a satisfyingly dark line.

Curiously though, a lot of the items labeled at the first of the list were not crossed off. Instead, my dad would find new things to do that were not on the list. As he would complete those tasks, he would write them neatly in the column and immediately put a strong line through it. Completed.

I, too, have followed in the well-worn path of genetic list-makers. I have lists on notepads, lists on my phone, lists on the white board on the fridge. And I too write in new things that weren't on the list just to have the satisfaction of crossing something off for that day.

And now the tradition continues with our daughter Kate. She came home from school this week with her very first to-do list.
"Eat snack. Be with Bella. Color. Read. Be with Mom. Be with Lucy. Bake cookies. Play with Bella. Make Christmas cards. Swim. Surf board. Do math. Do Chinese. Do math problems."

She didn't cross them off the list yet but I can attest that she did the following:
1. Eat snack.
2. Be with Bella.
3. Color.
4. Read.
5. Be with Mom.
6. Be with Lucy.
7. Play with Bella.
8. Make Christmas cards.

Eight items accomplished all in the span of one afternoon. Not a bad start!

I'm not sure how she will fit in swimming or surf boarding. In Chicago. In December. But it's always good to have a list going, even if you have to write in what you actually accomplished so you can cross something off for the day.

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