I just turned 29-years-old and I find myself stuck. I am a paradox. I am too young to be old, but too old to be young. I am mature, but I am so absolutely immature. Some people celebrate birthdays with drinks and cakes, I have taken to using the day for reflecting on myself as a woman, a wife and a mother.
At some point in my youthful college days I sat down with a notebook and pen and thought up as many plans for myself that I could think of at that moment. I made a bucket list. I kept it hanging on my wall proudly and would mark them off when I accomplished them. If it was something large ticked off the list then I allowed myself to celebrate.
As I carefully glided through the years of early 20s, I continued to add items while I marked them off as well. I had the big ones on there that so many people dream of: get a new car, fall in love and be married, become a mother. Then I had ones on there like ‘learn how to pronounce Kids Cusine.’ For some reason I say Quids Casene. I still cannot knock that fucker off the list. It is impossible for me. Maybe someday.
Today I sit here, and think about what happened during my 28th year of life and what I can take away as a win, a loss, and a lesson. I knocked one big one off of my list by having a piece I wrote become published. As amazing and as exciting as that is, it was no longer a part of the bucket list. The new bucket list I made when I became a mother.
Things included in my Motherhood Bucket List were: go on a picnic, go to the aquarium, watch a meteor shower, change a life, pass on as much compassion and love as I can. My bucket list is a melting pot of tangible ideas and memories and then things that you could never really gauge if it is completed or not. It is the hopes and dreams I have for myself and I have for my child.
I want to teach him the alphabet, shapes, colors, numbers and things like that that all parents want their children to know. But I also want my son to be compassionate and inviting. I want him to know that while there is stranger danger, that there is beauty with talking to people you meet in line at the store.
Just last week we met an older couple who were probably in their eighties. They were total sweethearts. It all started because the man resembled my Poppy. My son, thinking it was his grandfather, reached over and grabbed his hand to hold it before I could say anything. You should have seen the look in the man’s eyes with how happy he was. My son refused to let go and the man laughed and held my sons tiny hand. I found out that they recently, just this past month, became grandparents for the first time but their grandson lived on the other side of the country so they didn’t get to meet him yet. It was two grandparents aching to meet the baby they loved and spoiled and couldn’t hold yet, and then my little guys thinking the man was his Poppy that led to an older couple becoming so happy. They said the interaction made their day.
Those are the small things I want to teach him. That while some people are horrible, there are people out there in the world filled with kindness. There are people out there who might need an interaction like that. A polite compliment at the store to anyone could change their entire day.
That interaction will have been knocked off my list. We impacted someone’s life positively even if for only a moment, and it was a wonderful feeling that I hope I can do more often.
You see, with bucket lists it’s mainly about your wants and dreams and desires. With a Motherhood Bucket List you factor in a variable of others into it. So as I throw 28 one final kiss, I reflect on my life, my family and my newly rewired list. I will add to it, and mark things off. I will find things that happened that I never would have thought to put on there and I will add them in hopes of recapturing the event again.
I encourage anyone reading this to make a bucket list. It can be a list for just you, or it could be a list for motherhood. Maybe your parents always promised to take you to see a little museum that’s off the beaten path and you never made it there. Take your children. Bring your unfulfilled hopes from childhood and share them. Seven-year-old me wanted nothing more than to go to a park that had animatronics dinosaurs. We didn’t make it there and now I’m 29.
I am taking my son this summer and I can’t tell you if he will have more fun or if I will. The one thing I do know is that the memories from the trip will last a long time, and if at the end of the day every item doesn’t get checked off my bucket list, I’ll look back to the ones that did and remember how much fun we had together, or how much we changed someone’s life even if it was just for a day.