always make it onto the list

always make it onto the list

I

t was bedtime at the end of the first day of school and Peaches was lamenting the loss of the days in which she had been the master of her own destiny.

“Remember when you were little and you used to make lists?” I asked her.

Because she did, too—Peaches made long, detailed lists when she was first learning how to write. She would laboriously detail her agenda for the day from top (“eat breakfast”) to bottom (“bath”). As an adult whose list-making is periodically inspired but dependably abandoned (read: lost somewhere between the house and the car), I found Peaches’ devotion to the practice fascinating. My own personal lack of discipline cast a shocking long shadow in light of my daughter’s incipient habits; I was as mystified by this small person’s obvious bent toward organization as I was in awe of it.

Peaches’ first lists gave the hours ahead of her a form that was familiar, something she recognized from patterns she’d traced in days before. Now, I told her, they could remind her of the many ways that she might want to spend her weekend hours so that her free time didn’t slip away without her having consciously determined how she would fill it.

Peaches liked idea and asked for a notebook that she might devote to these lists of the fun she will have after 3:10 p.m. on Fridays. I’ve been thinking that maybe I could stand to make some lists of my own, too, just to keep me mindful of all of the delicious joy available to us during our weekends together.