Spoiler alert: I don’t have a bucket list. Which is kind of ridiculous, considering how many lists I actually do have. My life often looks like an array of spreadsheets and hand written goals. To-Do lists, budgets, and packing lists all compete with grocery lists on a daily basis. There are always more To Do’s than there are Have Done’s.
How I love the feeling of crossing things off as completed. The feeling of a pen in my hand, easing with smooth finality across my own handwritten conquests, is unparalleled. Sometimes I, too, add things that I accomplished earlier in the day, only to feel the satisfaction of another thing finished. Even if it will be undone by the five little loves of my life, any moment.
Still, when I sit down and try to think about what it is that I really want to accomplish on my giant to-do list, my last ever, this is your life list, several things bubble up to the surface. My children, and a million things concerning them, are first and foremost what I think of. But then, something deeper, if that’s possible, comes forward. Something that has been rooted in me, and ruminating in me, since grade school.
I want to make a difference. It sounds cliché, and corny, and old hat. And I know all of that. But it doesn’t make it any less true. I want to make life better, for my family, my friends, and for strangers. I don’t know if I will be lucky enough to do something grand, something worth writing about on the first or second page of newspapers. But notoriety is not what matters to me. Having true things that are admirable, and lovely, and just a bit noble, said about me in my obituary, that matters a great deal. Even posthumously.
I want to make my little corner of this world brighter. I want to burn in a way that drives the darkness from children’s eyes, while lighting their own candles with hope, until they have what it takes to wax strongly. I want to stay around long enough to see my own children Become. To stand against the night, hearts and lives alight with purpose, and glowing warmly with kindness.
I want to sweep the dross away from tired mothers. To be a voice that speaks truth to those trapped in the muck of everyday Mommying. One who says Well Done, enough times to drown out some of the You Aren’t Good Enough’s. Because there are so many shamers, aren’t there, especially inside of us? We all know that our babies are worth it. Worth the sacrifice, and the ill-fitting clothes, the lack of free time, and everything else that we give up. But so are you. So are the Moms. There is no substitute for these overlooked women. Women who are every day, tirelessly and selflessly shaping the future of our world. And someone has to say it, don’t they?
I want to remind people about beauty. To show them the loveliness inside of them and their community that they may be overlooking. You know how you don’t notice how many things are out of place in your home, until a new acquaintance comes over? I want to do the opposite of that. I want the people around me to see with new eyes all of the things that are good, and right, and just as they should be.
I want to bring healing to the broken. To give a voice to those who cannot speak up for themselves. I want to stoke the embers of children’s imaginations and help them to believe again. I want to smile at the cranky checker who looks at my cart begrudgingly. To make her laugh, as she scans my items, and help her forget the ache in her feet. Even if just for a moment.
I want the earth to be different, because I walked on it gently. Not because I crushed it. But because I helped build something. Something that will outlive me.
No, I don’t have a bucket list. But I do have hope, and these two hands. And with everything in me, I want that to be enough.