For almost twenty years now, I have lugged around a Franklin Planner. My attachment began back in my Gateway days, when it was a required accessory. (Woe be unto any management employee who dared to use a Post-It note after having been through Franklin Planner training.) Back then it was a “Classic” size, issued in burgundy faux leather.
When it fell apart, I bought my own, a similar version to the Gateway-issued one. Through the years, I discovered the “Monarch” size, which suited me better because it held 8 ½” x 11” documents. I bought two blue leather ones, and today own a black Monarch made of some washable synthetic material. It holds calendars, planning pages, room to journal, an address book, grading scales, lesson plans, and goal pages.
My planner is vital to me because I have a problem. I can’t stop thinking.
At any given moment, my mind is racing with story ideas, blog topics, ways to help teach my son, scrapbook projects, organizing tips, songs that I wish they would dance to on TV, gift ideas for family and friends, emails I want to send, people I want to help, trips I want to take, obligations I have to meet, crafts I want to try, books I need to read, chores that need to be done, and so on. I’m never bored. Without my planner though, without a schedule, I could sit for hours thinking about it all. My planner keeps me focused and helps me make sure that I am fitting in all that I want to accomplish.
However, ninety minutes is allotted every day for “free time.” Lately, more often than not, I am spending my free time with Oprah.
Many of you probably know that Oprah has less than two weeks left in her twenty-five year run. She is spending these last days making every show an impact. It’s been a rare day in the last month since school let out that I haven’t been intrigued by her show.
Oprah’s show the other day featured some of her more memorable moments. One such moment included a candid confession by author Toni Morrison. She said that when her children were growing up, she assumed they felt her love for them because she was always doing things for them and helping them function in life. Surely they knew they were important to her, right?
Her world view was shattered one day when her young son brought her a picture he had drawn. She looked at it and smiled and said something like, “That’s nice.” In front of her, he ripped the paper and threw it on the floor. She asked him why he did that, because she had told him it was a nice picture. How he answered shook her to her core: “Because I saw that smile on your face.”
She knew very well what he meant by “that smile.” It was the smile of a preoccupied mother. The smile that says, “I’m busy with something else, but I will react just enough to pacify you.” Her son knew it well. I’ve smiled that same smile myself.
Toni changed her attitude right then. She decided that from that day on, her eyes would light up when her children walked into the room. Her children started to really know that their mother loved them. They no longer had to assume that she did by the tasks she performed.
Yesterday I had a similar situation. For Mother’s Day, Weston got me a beautiful white floppy hat, perfect for wearing in the garden or at the beach. I loved it, and told him so. I pictured it shading my face on a hot, sunny day at the beach. Yesterday he approached me and said, “You don’t even like that hat I got you.”
“Of course I like it,” I said. “I love it. I told you I did.”
“But you’ve never even worn it.” Ouch.
How could I have been so insensitive? Why didn’t I prance around the house wearing that hat the day I got it? Why didn’t I proudly wear it to church even though it didn’t “go” with my outfit? My vision of wearing it on a future trip to the beach didn’t mesh with his idea that a person who loves a hat simply wears it.
Years ago, I saw a news segment about Linda Evans, star of The Big Valley and Dynasty. Her former husband, John Derek, said something along these lines: “I used to love being around Linda because every time I walked into the room, her eyes lit up. Then I realized that Linda’s eyes light up no matter who walks into the room.”
Don’t you love it when you see someone you know, and their eyes light up at the sight of you? Our children deserve to experience that same feeling in our presence.
I’ll be wearing my hat in the garden tomorrow.