Parenting Perspectives: Days fly by despite how you keep track of them

In high school, I bought a lavender spiral-bound day planner, convinced it would keep me neat and organized. I filled the early pages with color-coded homework assignments and extracurriculars.

Within weeks, the planner was abandoned at the bottom of my messy locker, the rest of its pages crisp and clean.

Throughout college and into the working world, I tried different ways to keep track of my schedule, but always slipped back to scribbling notes on scraps of paper.

Finally a husband, two kids, two pets, a house and a job have forced me to use a calendar.

Now I have four.

There’s the 12-month wall calendar I use for long-term planning. Daily reminders beep at me from my phone. Work appointments go on a Google calendar I always forget to open.

And on my fridge is my lifeline, the only planning tool I’ve ever stuck with – a magnetic Mead circle-the-date planner, unsurprisingly part of the company’s “For Mom” line.

It has four sets of lines, presumably one per family member, though I use them to plan out four days at a time. There’s space on the side to write lists or notes. It’s even trimmed in red, my favorite color.

I flew through the sheets, and was crushed when I couldn’t find another one at the store.

Desperate, I bought a magnetic dry-erase grid calendar from the back-to-school clearance aisle. Within days I knew it wouldn’t work. I scoured the web for my treasured “for Mom” planner, and bought two off Amazon.

I gave the dry erase calendar and markers to 5-year-old Eve. Unlike her mom, she seems to have adapted well to calendar use at an early age.

At the beginning of each month, I help her fill in all 30 or 31 numbers in the appropriate boxes. Then we draw pictures of key events on the right dates.

Each day, she draws an X through the day we finished.

So as I sat to type this column at the end of March, I stared at a whole month of her wobbly Xs and wondered where that month had gone.

Preschool days and lazy weekends, all crossed off.

Swimming lessons, St. Patrick’s Day, dentist and doctor appointments obscured by her criss-crossed lines.

And most poignant to me, Eve’s fifth birthday, X’d out. Not just another month, but another year of her life in the books.

I started to think about all the moments not recorded on a dry-erase calendar, not planned in advance on my circle-the-date sheets.

Painting each other’s toenails green on the Saturday before St. Patty’s Day.

Reading “Little House on the Prairie” stories while snuggled in her bed.

Dancing in the living room to the George Strait Christmas CD we listened to every day last month.

I wonder how quickly these mundane yet wonderful moments will slip from my memory, like so many of the last 1,820-plus days.

Now the calendar is freshly drawn in marker. It’s April, and time marches on.

Sherri Richards is a reporter for The Forum and mom to 5-year-old Eve and 20-month-old Owen.

One thought on “Parenting Perspectives: Days fly by despite how you keep track of them

  1. You need to check out Project Life. I just found this and it’s exactly what you need to keep track of the every day things that happen in life, the things that make up our life but we don’t want to forget. Now these every day moments won’t have to be forgotten. Just a quick comment about my Project Life. Go to http://www.beckyhiggins.com and there is tons of info to check out. I’m doing a 2 page weekly layout for the entire year. Each week of my family’s life is documented in pictures and journaling. It’s the easiest thing to do. I love capturing all the mundane things like my 6 and 4 year old eating breakfast in the morning, or the baby feeding the dog her food, or catching the older two playing nicely for those few moments. Its the perfect thing to keep track of all those memories you don’t want to forget.

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