Family agenda time

Lisa Ingebrand,

A written agenda now accompanies me to the dinner table.

After my family of four eats and finishes chatting about our day, I pull out my list, which sets my daughters’ eyes rolling.

Anna and Ellen, ages 13 and 10, think it’s ridiculous that I now have a “Family Agenda” notebook, but they do sit up and pay attention when I click my pen into action mode.

I begin:

- Are we going to cousin Gus’ basketball game tomorrow. If so, how are we going to make it happen?

- Anna, you have your cookie decorating class this weekend. Are you going with Karolyn? Do you need a ride—to and/or from the class?

- Ellen, your volleyball tournament is coming up. Have you found your warmup pants? What about your water bottle? What do you need for packing your lunch? Is your jersey clean?

- John, the Tahoe is making a funny noise. Will you look at it or do you want me to bring it in?

- What have we decided regarding our goldfish? - Whoever scooped the cats’ litter boxes last needs to do better.

- Anna, do you need to get to school early tomorrow?

- Ellen, what do you want to get for your friend for her birthday party?

The list goes on and so do the notes and follow-up phone calls and texts to make things happen.

It’s all little things—the basic, little decisions and constant planning efforts that fill my head and make me feel crazy at times. It’s being a parent of two busy middle school kids whose calendars are full but can’t yet drive.

To help clear my head and keep things straight in the new year, I began my “Family Agenda” notebook. I tuck it in my purse and haul it everywhere. If something pops into my head that I need to ask a family member about, I jot it down. If an idea comes to me that I should share with my family, I jot it down. And, as the emails from the girls’ teachers and coaches pour in, I jot them down. (Ellen asked to be added to the agenda the other day to discuss her upcoming birthday party, so it was also added to the list… They’re getting the hang of it.)

We address each item. The process is similar to how a city council meeting is run, but without the making of motions.

Mostly, we discuss things, but sometimes, we do go to a vote.

Take the goldfish situation for example. Our beloved goldfish has outgrown his aquarium. We’ve had him for three years and never dreamed he’d get this big. Unfortunately, we don’t have room for the 50-gallon tank the pet store guy recommended. Anything smaller, we were told, won’t solve the water-quality issues we’re facing, so we need to decide what to do with our giant golden fish friend… If we keep him, we’ll need to clean the tank every other week to keep him healthy. However, the pet store guy offered to adopt him and keep him in his in-store pond. So, I brought this information to the family and it went to a vote.

After a 3-1 decision, our fish will soon be moving to the indoor pet-store pond. Ellen had the lone opposing vote, but Ellen neither helps clean nor feed the fish. So, it was decided that Ellen will be allowed regular visits to the fish pond.

Now, I just have to contact the pet store guy and line up the move… and clean the tank… and figure out whether to get rid of the old aquarium or find a place to stash it in the basement. There’s always something.

At least crossing out the agenda items allows me to feel like I’m making headway in life.

We’re in what people have told me is the “busy season” of life as parents. It’s truly wonderful, fun, crazy, and overwhelming.

I’ve been told that I’ll miss this time—I’ll yearn for it in a few more years. So, I’m trying to savor the hours spent in the vehicle with my kids driving them to and from school, sporting events, and friends’ houses, and other activities… and the hours spent watching them perform, compete, and hangout with their friends… and the late hours of assisting/arguing with them with over homework that they “forgot” about and have to hustle to get done and turn in before midnight.

I understand why my hair is turning gray.

But, just like my starting to-show laugh lines, I’m beginning to embrace each gray strand. It’s life. It’s amazing, nerve-racking, ever-so frustrating, and wonderful.

And now, I have my “Family Agenda” notebook. Hopefully, it will continue to help organize things a bit… If nothing else, it will document all of the craziness (unless Ellen fulfills her threat of hiding it, as she wasn’t pleased with our answers regarding her birthday party requests).

Don’t worry. I keep a whole separate “Work” notebook.


Suel Printing Company

Copyright © Suel Printing Company
All Rights Reserved
200 Main St E
New Prague, MN 56071

Phone: 952-758-4435
Fax: 952-758-4135

Latest articles

Thu, 03/30/2023 - 3:57pm
Thu, 03/30/2023 - 1:11pm
Mon, 03/27/2023 - 1:13pm
Mon, 03/27/2023 - 11:30am

If you would like to receive a FREE digital edition with a paid print subscription please call 952-758-4435.