On Saturday, I went to a meeting at church and, as it turned out, was 45 minutes early. So, I called home to check in, and then went and had some much needed me time. What does one do when given forty-five minutes of me time that hadn't planned on and they aren't in the comfort of their own home with the usual distractions? Where does one go at 8:30 AM on Saturday for me time? Well, Starbucks of course!
When I showed up at the Starbucks, there were a bunch of kids there collecting for Relay for Life. They all piped up as I walked by, "WOULD YOU LIKE TO DONATE TO RELAY FOR LIFE?" I would, but actually had donated to my babysitter for the exact cause the day before, and I had no cash on hand. I told them I would see when I came back out.
I went in and ordered my tall coffee and madeleines, prepared my coffee with half and half and went back outside. I decided to get out a piece of paper and entertain myself with a To Do list. It always makes me feel organized and important to have a fat To Do list of goals ready to be scratched off in my pocket. I thrive on accomplishment, so having a list of things I need to tick off is an ideal situation, especially for a Saturday.
For me, writing a To Do list is a creative act. It's a little time spent imagining and the end result is a little gift to myself. Here, if you're bored, here are some things you need To Do. And, just like there are two kinds of grocery shopping, the kind where you go and get all the items that you have found you need over the week and the trip where you allow an hour or so to wander through each aisle and discover what you need, there are two different kind of To Do lists. There is the list that is basically a sticky place to put those things you must do and, as you think of them you write them down or you might lose them. This kind of list is often jotted on the back of an ATM receipt or an errant piece of junk mail.
But, there is also the list you must dream up or cogitate. This is a list where I start with a particularly nice pen, clean, crisp sheet of paper number it to ten and then spend time trying to fill it. It's not about finding necessary errands or must dos. No. Not at all. It's about holding a conversation with myself about the things I might want to try, or dream to accomplish. Here in this dreamy state, I stumble upon these things in the attic of my mind, dust them off and decide if they deserve to be captured somewhere for possible future use. This was the kind of To Do list I set out to work on this morning.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, the kids were so animated and funny, I found myself unable to get to my introspective place. Instead, I was drawn into their silliness. Next to me were their moms. Standing just far enough away to allow their kids their independence, but close enough to keep an eye on them (and to purchase monster cookies and hot ciders as needed). There was one boy among four girls. He reminded me of what Liam might become. The ham. Comfortable in his skin, but relying on those around him to laugh at his dramatic moves and looks. At one point, I leaned over to his mother and said, "I have one of those at my house. He's only eighteen months right now, but he's going to be just like that." She looked at me with a wide, proud grin and told me how sorry she was for me.
I finally left and went on my merry way. Later on that evening one of the mothers and her daughter who had been there at that Starbucks was at a church event with me. The mother came over and kindly introduced herself to me. She told me that her daughter had spotted me across the room and told her mom, "Hey Mom. There's that lady from Starbucks this morning." I was touched to be remembered, although mildly offended at being called "lady." Whatever happened to girl? I used to be that girl. When did that all change? Maybe when you become a mom other people's kids can't help but see you as their mom, an older person, another generation. I am struggling with being "that lady." Next To Do list I conjure up, I'm going to be sure to put something on there about reclaiming my girlishness!