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She's Making a List
by Amy Kenneley

"Whatcha doin'?" Himself asks.

"Making a cookie list" I answer.

"I don't need lists-I have it all UP HERE" he reminds me…again, tapping his head.

Ah yes, I remember now. He is the "did you remember the_____?" person who thinks of some aspect of our trip, usually when we are about halfway to our destination. But I did remember the ___because… I made a list.

And I remember how he had it all "up there" another time. He packed his own bag. That evening we were shopping at an all night K-Mart because someone forgot to pack his undies. Now I pack both bags. Using a list.

No Free Spirit

This list-making was a hard-won habit. Time was when wandering blithely through life as a free spirit, fetterless and charged only with inspiration, was the norm. No more. Lack of planning, a memory getting increasingly vague, and the high price of gasoline have cemented my list- making habit.

It isn't safe to leave a list lying around, though. Himself makes fun of my writing, poking fun at my hen scratches. Later he will ask "Didn't you make your list and check it twice?" And there, written in his bold square printing at the bottom is "Kiss Your Husband."

The Christmas Makers

Well! How do I have time for that when I am the one "making" Christmas! Are you a Christmas Maker, too? We are the ones who plan events, bring out the decorations, mail the cards, organize, bake, wrap-the list could go on and on. Why? Because we usually are the ones who make lists.

We can zip down an aisle, get the right gift, and get out the door and home while the "free spirits" are numbly trolling the store, mumbling to themselves. You can see how easy it is to get a little huffy. It is hard to be humble when you have your entire holiday under wraps-literally and figuratively.

Wake-Up Call

"What are you doing now, and do you know what time it is?" Himself asks.

"I am cleaning out the kitchen cabinets, as you can see"

"But why now, can't that wait until after Christmas?"

"It's the last thing on my list for today, that's why" I explain VERY patiently as I continue to put all the sugars-molasses, brown, white, confectioner's-in order on the shelf. He just doesn't understand the satisfaction of crossing off that last item on today's list.

"Can't that wait until tomorrow?"

"I have a different list for tomorrow. This is today"

"Actually, today IS tomorrow, but I'm going back to bed."

Doggone Lost List

In the morning I reached for my list under the magnet on the fridge--only it wasn't there! It is always there under that magnet, staring at me, daring me to finish my own self-created work schedule. I could remember it, though, couldn't I? Let's see: finish the wash, buy stocking stuffers, then---my mind was a blank after that.

"You took my list" I accuse him.

"No, I didn't, but why not finish the newspaper? There's a Golden Oldie on the TV you liked. We could call one of the kids this afternoon. Let's have a pizza delivered for dinner. See? That's a nice list, isn't it?"

Hmmmmm…it wasn't MY list, but it was a pretty good one. Is it possible to be a free spirit if you are a confirmed list-maker? Is it possible to have a Free Spirit List?

My New Improved List

I dallied with the newspaper for a good hour. Laughed at the comics. Shed a tear at my Golden Oldie on the morning channel. I'm looking forward to the chat with a grandchild after school, and the paper plates are already set out for the pizza. Today's list is pretty nice.

Oh, I won't forget you, my dear, dear must-do list. Maybe I won't clean cupboards at strange hours. I will give myself permission not to. I will not feel guilty if I don't.

Himself has shown me how to create a new, improved list: Smile more often. See friends more often. Hug more. Enjoy the family. Appreciate each season. Give Thanks. These seem enough to start with.

Maybe some days I'll get to all of them, maybe some days just a few. But I will definitely do one thing for sure every day, and just to make sure, it will be at the top of my list.

At Number One will be: Kiss Your Husband.

Blessings to all free spirits and listmakers, whatever the season, and if Himself is reading this-I KNOW you stole that list!

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