On my to do list: Gratitude

OPTICAL ILLUSION: an experience of seeming to see something that does not exist or that is other than it appears; something that deceives one’s eyes and causes such an experience.

My “to do” lists have been long this week.  I’ve been complaining and feeling overwhelmed.

But, somehow in the light of early morning today, my Friday list looked different.  It still says the same things:

Post office

Food prep

Policy review and analysis


School tour

Daughter’s preschool paperwork


It’s a lot to do and will likely make for a long day.  But, as I looked at each item on the list during my morning coffee I was struck with a healthy dose of gratitude.  Yes, it’s a to do list.  But in that quiet, caffeinated moment I was also able to see it as a list of blessings.  Sort of like this famous optical illusion:

I’ve been seeing (and feeling like) the haggard old lady instead of the young woman.  But, I can see my list a little differently now.

Post office.  I strongly dislike going to the post office with kids.  They have designed the lobby to appeal to the parkour gene present in all children.   There are things to swing on, tip, kick, jump and vault.  But, the reason I’m going to the post office is a good one.  I need to mail a birthday gift to my niece.  She is a miracle.  She has survived a series of heart surgeries and procedures to become the most spirited, adventurous, and fearless child I’ve ever met.  It is a privilege to know her and a joy to celebrate her special day.  A little dose of parkour-infused madness may just be the perfect send-off for her gift.

Food prep/Policy review/Interviews.  The reason I’m interviewing replacements and trying to stock my freezer with meals is because I’ve been offered a job!  A real job!  No more piece-meal, uncertain, squeeze it into nap time projects.  I’ll be returning to the firm I left 6 years ago when Son was born.  It is a pain to try to finish months worth of work for clients in two weeks, a hassle to review resumes and do interviews to replace myself for one particular client, and a bummer to spend a sunny day in a hot kitchen.  But…I can see this for what it is – a transition from a six-year sabbatical to a family friendly work schedule and regular paychecks in a difficult job market.

School tour/Preschool paperwork.  I think it’s easier to prep for Armageddon than kindergarten and day care.  Some of the supplies are the same (emergency blankets, flashlights, non-perishable food) and the emotions too (help!  will we survive?), but the paperwork and getting-to-know-you activities are far more extensive.  But, again, I understand that this hassle is a blessing in disguise.  The activities facilitated by Son’s school have made him excited and confident about the start of school.  And, the meet-and-greet we did at Daughter’s school left her in tears…because she didn’t want to leave!  All the hassle may just translate into a smooth transition.

So, I’m going to take a deep breath and try to keep my eyes on the pretty lady.



14 thoughts on “On my to do list: Gratitude

  1. “They have designed the lobby to appeal to the parkour gene present in all children. There are things to swing on, tip, kick, jump and vault.”
    That is so classic! I’m going to have to try to work that into a conversation with someone someday and claim that I came up with it myself, so that they will think I am a stellar intellect and wit.

  2. I can attest to the fabulousness of a family-friendly work schedule – I could certainly make more money, but the time I get to spend with the kids is so worth it. Enjoy the vaulting at the post office.

  3. Good luck on your job!. I can complete relate to pre-school jitters, when mine went to the daycare when she was around 10 months old, I was so overwhelmed. Hope the postoffice, and the rest of your to-do ALL fell in place!

  4. This is a great post and struck a chord with me – I’ve just started a new job too and am often feeling overwhelmed with the amount of stuff going on around me – not just daily tasks but also the thoughts and ideas and things to remember swirling round my head! I’m also trying to squeeze in my freelance jobs around the new part-time one and it’s make life very full!

    But then I stop and remember how much I wanted and needed this – and, like you, I know I’m very, very lucky to have found a family-friendly work schedule and regular pay at an economically difficult time. Being this busy really is a blessing, even if it doesn’t always feel that way!

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