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Spring cleaning is a dream come true

This past weekend, my husband made a list of the households projects, repairs, and purchases we’d like to make this spring. The list is long, which is no surprise. It includes major jobs that will take days and minor jobs that will take minutes. Some of the highlights from the list are chopping down a small dead tree, hanging new towel bars by the bathtub, cleaning the garage, digging up an unwanted bush, painting our bedroom, getting new blinds for the kids’ windows, and building longer benches for the dining table.

Yesterday, one of our teens found the list and was reading it. “Hey dad?”

He said yes.

“Is this your bucket list?”

I nearly choked on the snort that rocketed up. Yes, adults commonly create bucket lists that feature daring feats of gutter cleaning. Before we die, we want to debate over paint swatches. We do.

Annie Dillard wrote in The Writing Life, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing.”

It seems what’s left off a bucket list is more important that what’s on the bucket list. The moments between viewing Mt. Fuji from a bank of cherry trees in full blossom and holding Snoopy’s rope in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (ahem) are what inspire you to aspire. Somewhere, in some unhailed moment, you discover the beauty of cherry trees. On a quiet Sunday morning, you read Peanuts and thought Snoopy was the best. Without flashy pronouncements or bold declarations, a list came into being.

It’s a culmination of glances, flavors, photos, listening, and admiration of the courageous. This spring, as we swipe new paint on old walls, it won’t be a grand moment in the least, but maybe it could launch a conversation about an amazing painted ceiling in Rome. A kid overhears, then boom. A dream is born.

“Can I help you paint?”

Oh, wait. That’s my dream.

From Spring 2013's painting spree...

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