The Mother’s Day List

I have very unrealistic expectations about Mother’s Day.  I can’t seem to help myself.

See, I suffer under the misconception that Mother’s Day is the day on which everybody does exactly what I want and so we get a ton of things crossed off my to-do list.  I tend to think that Mother’s Day is my magic day of the year.  My fingers itch all year long to list all the little honey-do-jobs I’m sure we can accomplish if my husband will only devote one full day to my agenda.  I figure Mother’s Day is my one single day when I truly deserve to be fully in charge, so I dream up… well, actually, list, categorize and prioritize… everything that I want to happen while I’m the boss (with a handsome handyman at my disposal.  I am not a handy-woman, as you might have guessed; I am a helpless little lady who is unable to, perhaps even prohibited from, using power tools).

Here’s this year’s list:

– Cut lower branches off the pine tree in the yard (chainsaw needed).

– While the chainsaw is out, maybe we should cut down the Russian olive trees to the east of the barn?

– Trim the feet on Cat, the horse with the broken elbow.  And set up four panels so I can put him on grass for a couple hours every day.

– Take a walk on the few acres we ourselves bought a few years ago, specifically in order to replace the wooden stakes the surveyor left behind with T-posts, and maybe take a picnic along just for fun?

– Clean out the refrigerator.  Because it’s a lonely job when one does it by herself with four kids.

– Finish the taxes.  No time like May.

– Fix the tape player in the pickup.  Vacuum out the pickup.

– Hang pictures in the living room (drill needed).

– While the drill is out… hang sign and paper towel holder in the bunkhouse?

– Build a garden box (or two or three) from scrap wood in the junk pile.

– Rig up a way to hang hoses on the side of the garage.

– Salvage junk oil barrel stand that’s leaning against the shop and turn it into a flower planter.

– Replace the broken screen door on the front of the house.

– Rig up horseshoes to hang stray ropes on the side of our house.

– Lower the basketball hoop in our yard to accommodate tiny players.


… And the list goes on and on.

Last year, on Mother’s Day, I set myself up for terrible disappointment.  I built a list very similar to the one above (how is it that another year has passed and we still haven’t gotten around to all these things?), and the end of the story was that we as a family finished half of one thing I wanted to accomplish that day — simply because of the normal everyday chaos of life with kids that keeps me from accomplishing big, beautiful things the other 364 days of the year.  I was furious and distraught.  I guess because I knew it would be another full year before my day to do this stuff would come around again.

This year I originally wanted to be more realistic.  To think of Mother’s Day not as a day to get lots done but as just a day, not so different from any other day, on which we might do one special thing — like eat out, or go for a drive, or sleep in — and that only if the stars line up just right.

See, I know that simple is best.  I just have a hard time applying that philosophy!

So a few months ago I decided that on my special day, because I am completely rational and understand we will not be able to finish a twenty-point bullet list on Mother’s Day with four kids age seven and under in tow, I would like instead for our whole family to take a walk on our own few acres, and maybe have a picnic there too.

That seemed like the perfect solution a couple months ago.

But then I decided we would almost certainly also have time on Mother’s Day to lower the basketball hoop.  I mean, how long can it take to lower a basketball hoop?

Then spring fever hit and I got to thinking of all the little projects which, if finished, would improve my quality of life and set my mind at ease… and The List ballooned into the embarrassment that is above.

I know it’s foolishness.  I know that Mother’s Day is no more than 24 hours like any other day.  I know it will have its unexpected disruptions just like any other day.  I know it may as well be a day celebrated with the everyday knowledge that we’ll never catch up or get ahead, so we might just as well appreciate the little things than set our sights high.

Yet my honey-help-me list for today, Mother’s Day 2018, is impossibly long once again.  And I spent yesterday with my mom and grandma and sister so that my family can guiltlessly focus on ME today.

Ha!  Wish me luck!

(And happy Mother’s Day to all you ladies out there!)


© Tami Blake

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