When my kids were little, we owned a toy that I liked, yet didn’t.
It was educational, so that earned it some points, but it also was comprised of several pieces, for which I had to deduct some points in the clean-up category. Had it played a song and used eight “C” batteries it would have earned a negative score (also known as the garage sale pile) but it was fairly quiet and simple so it stuck around for awhile.
You didn’t know toy delineation was so complicated, did you?
Don’t even get me started on Furby.
Anyhow, this toy was simply a yellow bucket with a blue lid. The lid had various shaped holes in it and inside the bucket were colorful plastic shapes that matched the holes.
Yes, you know what I’m describing.
We’ve all seen these toys in various versions.
There was the ball shaped one (technically, it was a decahedron. I really learned my shapes. And I know how to use Google) that had little yellow handles you pulled on like an accordion and then shook the thing so all the shape pieces would fall out (and one would always get stuck). There are pink buckets, and blue ones. I’m sure Bob the Builder has a variation out there. It’s a classic toy.
Basically, it was the original Tetris game without the pressure.
The thing about this toy was that each evening when I did the clean-up rounds, I would find the little shapes all over the family room. Some evenings I’d pick them up and gently drop them into their respective holes and listen to the satisfying plastic rattling sound as they landed in the yellow bucket.
Other days I was in too much of a rush. Forget finding the corresponding shape holes. I’d rip off the blue lid, throw the shapes into the bucket (and possibly other small toys, puzzle pieces, or Cheetos that I had also found on the floor) and be done with it. I didn’t have time to put things through their proper channels. I didn’t have time to do the job with excellence, I just wanted to get it done. Shove the lid on that thing and stick it on the shelf.
The last month or so as we’ve tried to find the pace of our “fall routine,” I have returned to my “rip the lid off” ways. I haven’t actually been picking up little plastic shapes, but I’ve been helping with homework, folding laundry, teaching a class at church, grocery shopping, working, having family fun nights, emailing coworkers, attending meetings, having meaningful conversations with my husband (he especially loves the long emotional talks…), making dinner, and thinking about how nice it would be to actually exercise. Kraig and the kids have been busy and trying to figure out their school and workload too.
It’s been a “I stressed, you stressed, we all scream for ice cream” kind of month.
Our to-do lists are seemingly scattered all over the floor.
The pieces are varied in shape and size.
I would LOVE to nicely and neatly drop our to-dos onto our calendar and hear the pretty rattling sound. I want to be organized and see all the pieces fit beautifully where they belong. Yet, this deliberate placement of my time and efforts has so far eluded me. Right now we’re just going for “in the bucket.” Let’s get stuff done however we can and eventually we’ll hit our groove, figure out our pace, and drop the shapes into the holes like the game is supposed to be played.
Either way, we’re getting things done. It’s not pretty. There are a few Cheetos mixed in with our activities and agendas. That’s okay.
The lid comes off of the bucket for a reason.
We all need a little help sometimes. We all need to cut ourselves some slack.
I still know what a triangle is and where to put the star. I’ll get there eventually as we move into this busy season.
But for now I’m good with taking the lid off.
That’s today’s bucket list.
Photo from fisherprice.com