Family Life Laid Out in Little Boxes

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With all of the new options of technologically advanced calendar systems, I still prefer the good old-fashioned paper wall calendar.

I’ve tried to use the one my smart phone came with and I also tried an online version. Neither gave me the comfort and security of the little squares in which I could neatly contain the contents of our family’s busy life.

The outlined boxes representing each day of the month provide boundaries. In my head there are no boundaries. The To Do list twirls and swirls as I wonder how it will all get done, how everyone’s needs will be met. It’s all about squaring the circle for me.

In contrast to the idea of days and dates and times, Nature’s calendar is circular and depends on the rotation of the planets, the moon waxing and waning, the passing and returning of the seasons. That is all well and good, but does that help me get someone to the orthodontist at the same time someone else’s lacrosse practice is starting? Does the natural rhythm of the solar system matter when two people have a birthday party in different cities at the same time, on the same day?

It appears that 2012 will be as busy a year as the previous ones, and the Family Wall Calendar is already becoming a dizzying display of many moving parts. I need the little squares, the little digestible pieces. It is like a security blanket, protecting me from a dangerous trajectory into who knows where.

The Family Calendar is where all calendars come to schmooze. It’s like a calendar convention. The school calendar, sports calendar, social calendar and health and wellness calendar of each family member must meet up and make nice. It is as if we must harness multiple orbits and find harmony among and between them all.

I often see one of the kids standing at the calendar hanging in our kitchen, mumbling to themselves and counting how many squares until a vacation or a birthday. A calendar provides predictability. It also provides some harsh realities. Can’t be two places at once – and the calendar doesn’t lie – only so much can fit in one square at a time. We have to let some opportunities pass as we learn about commitments. There are days when my kids feel like a blank square on a calendar is a lonely day. Nothing to do, no one to play with. A mom can only wish upon a star that the calendar may have some blank spaces throughout the year.

And while the importance of the Family Calendar stuck to the wall in the kitchen cannot be over-emphasized, the satellite calendar is also essential. This is the mini version that travels with me in my purse. It helps when I am not at home with making follow up appointments. So there is one blankie that always stays home, and one that can go places with you.

2012 has already begun and the squares are filling up. We have passed the winter solstice and time, as they say, marches on. While I have no control over the speed of the passage of time, I am armed with my pencil and ready to dedicate some of those precious hours for family and friends.

I am hoping the people we love are on some collision courses this year as we find some matching blank squares to share.

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