My mom raised five children all by herself. No husband, no child support, and no assisted help either. She had a tremendous amount of responsibility and a copious amount of things to remember on a daily basis. Every night after we ate dinner she would sit alone at our dining room table and write. I, being the youngest, had no idea what or why she was writing. One night I asked and she paused, glanced up from the paper and with a big dimpled smile said,
“Making a list.”
I said, standing there for a moment and then suddenly sprinting off to handle much more important household business, like playing with my hot wheels. Life went on and soon my first of many reoccurring dysfunctional behavioral patterns began to fall into strong repetition like…Forgetfulness! It got harder to remember things, such as homework assignments, chores…homework assignments…and…well…chores. Forgetfulness was getting me into trouble both at home and school. Then one day I just blurted out to my mom,
“I can’t remember anything!”
And through her dimpled smile she said,
“Well, make a list then.”
I said, cocking my ten-year-old head like the RCA dog. Then my mom took me by the hand and led me behind the dining room table. We stood in front of a small wicker box. My mom looked at me and said,
“How do I remember what groceries to buy?”
I hesitated but then gave the question the old grade school try,
“You go to the store?”
She said and then thinking of another angle she picked up the wicker box and asked,
“How does your teacher remember everybody’s name?”
“Because she went to college.”
Holding back the laughter my mother opened the wicker box and produced a stack of papers both random in size and color.
“How does Santa remember who’s naughty or nice?”
“Anybody knows that mom, Santa writes it on his naughty and nice list and then he checks it twice.”
My mom was elated at my response,
Then my mom proceeded to show me years and years of lists that she’d made. Long ones; short ones, some with cursive and others with printing. Numbers, names, foods, to – do’s, gifts, reciepes, etc, etc, etc, the lists went on and on and on. Then we sat down together and she helped me create two lists of my own. One was titled “Chores” and the other “Homework”. It was moment that affected my life to this day and changed how I live considerably. For example, I stopped forgetting to do things like…chores and homework assignments.
Last year my ten-year-old nephew came down to stay with me for a few days and while we were playing video games I asked,
“How’s school going?”
“I keep getting in trouble cause I forget to do my homework.”
I shut off the video game, kindly led him into my office and proceeded to show him a certain wicker basket.
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