My Mother Made Lists
I came across quite a few workbooks at the book store that suggest that we keep lists of some sort or another. One book caught my attention Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed. It made me think of my mother who was a list maker. She made lists to remind her about things. She made a to do list every day. Sometimes her list would remind her to tell me about things she had heard on the radio or in an ad she had seen on TV. Most times she suggested that I buy a certain supplement or warn me about a recall that only affected people living in Montana or somewhere else miles away. But her theory was that they may have missed listing our town or state.
There is an art connected to this idea of making lists and it is called listography. One can decide to make lists of about almost any topic. When you go to the book store you will find all kinds of journals that are organized into different types of lists. One example is a journal called the bullet journal. “It has grown in popularity over the last year, with almost 200,000 hashtagged speed journals on Instagram and hundreds of customized templates and helpful tutorials on Pinterest.”
There are websites and YouTube videos that teach you how to organize your journal bullets and or mindful thinking. My mom would be thrilled to have had one of these. Her lists and notes were written on pieces of paper. She recycled everything she could possibly recycle. She always reminded us that she lived through the Depression and that she learned to reuse many things. So her journals were the backs of used envelopes, all kinds of scrap paper, even napkins.
The notes I found after her passing taught me a little bit more about what motivated her and what she cared about. She loved to learn new words since English was not her first language. She would write the words phonetically and then ask me what the word meant. I found out that my definitions did not satisfy her sometimes. She would eventually write down the dictionary meaning in a notebook she had divided into different sections and listed all the new words into categories.
She made lists of things she stored away in boxes. I found at least ten gift boxes with brand new nightgowns see had never used. Inside each box was a note about who had gifted her and for what occasion and then she would note why she was saving it. I even found a sort of black list of people she did not like and her explanation as to why. I never let anyone see that list. She made lists of new characters in her favorite soap operas and explained why she liked or disliked them.
When she became very ill she made a few different lists of instructions for us to follow when she passed. One list told me the things that had made her the happiest. Her children were at the top of the list. She also made a list of all the money she had spent during her illness. She made of list of the people who had borrowed money from her in the past and check marks were made after the names of the people who paid her back. She double checked the people who still owed her but whose debts she would forgive. I never knew she had that much money to lend out.
I only recently found out about listography. My mom was on to something. She had done this for years. All I know is that my mom’s lists revealed so many things about her. I learned so much about her dreams and hopes.
I have started making lists myself. Here are some starter lists that I believe my children will find amusing when I am gone. Happy Mother’s Day.
- List of things I know make people happy.
- List of my friends when I was in elementary school.
- List of questions I always wanted to ask but was afraid to ask.
- List of questions I will have when I meet with God.
- List of favorite things.
- List of places I wish I had visited.
- List of the things that most frightened me when I first became a mom.
- List of special moments.
- List of things I said that I regret.
- List knock knock jokes