my one word prompt {november twenty-two}

I can’t believe it!

I did it again.

(Well, not again.) (Sort of again.) (More like simultaneously?)

Let me back up:

In my last post, I told you how I screwed up logistics…at a friend’s expense…a couple of weeks ago. Which was bad enough!

Listen to what else I did:

Lincoln is flying back to Colorado to visit his best friend this weekend. Long story short, the day I bought his ticket? I didn’t actually buy his ticket. (Apparently.)

Because when Troy asked for the confirmation on Monday, I couldn’t find one.

I combed through credit card statements. Emails. Texts. Troy called Citi Card. Frontier. Southwest. Not United, I knew. Because you can’t fly solo at 15 on United.

I did remember: the times, a late evening departure, 7:40pm. Were our friends okay with a late arrival in Denver? Yes. He’d fly home Monday morning, missing one day of school. Okay. That works. I bought the ticket then texted our friends: Got the ticket! He’s coming!

Then, I slipped on my shoes and out the door to meet up with Elsa on her walk home from school.

So all I can think of is…maybe I missed one more click to confirm? Maybe my connection dropped at the end, something didn’t go through? Was I really so distracted (by who knows what) that I never even noticed there was no confirmation?


Two things I want to say:

1) Out of curiosity, I looked back at dates to compare. I made this mistake within 24 hours of that headache-inducing text episode I wrote about recently–the one that led to October’s prompt.

2) Even before this, ahem, oversight, I’d been considering another not-so-sexy-but-necessary prompt for November.

Every once in a while, I write myself a prompt that reads relatively dull–but with results that pack a punch. (Like last month!)

In that spirit, I’ve been tuning in to how I do things, how I engage, and I can see a habit I developed when I became a mother. Here’s what it looked like then:

Say…I was making dinner. Like so many babies, Audrey grew fussy in late afternoon. Since she loved the water, I’d plop her in the sink then tackle the critical tasks of our dinner; anything that could wait (clearing the counters) would have to wait. After, if she was still happy in the sink, I’d address another critical task. Like washing diapers. Anything that could wait (like folding what just came out of the dryer) would have to wait. And so on.

It was just what it sounds like. Living triage!

Do what’s necessary to stop the bleeding! We’ll clean up the mess when it’s over!

(I laugh as I write this. And I want to say It really wasn’t like that. But, it kind of was. It was…life!)

In the course of raising three children, we spent 10 consecutive years in some stage of pregnancy/baby-/toddlerhood. That triage approach became my M.O.–and it’s a hard habit to break. I’m still prompted by that question…What’s bleeding right now?…even though I don’t have to be.

Does that make sense?

I was thinking about this at bedtime last night. About what this prompt is not:

I’m not haphazard, all-over-the-map. I’m not outwardly disorganized or disheveled. It’s not about my time management skills.

It’s more…nuanced…than that.

And, it’s mindset.

More than 18 years ago, I trained myself to execute tasks the same way some people eat: as a grazer. (Not to be confused with multi-tasking; I rarely do two things at once anymore.) I tend to do a little bit…then address something else equally/more important…repeat…repeat again. I circle back ’round and, eventually, everything’s done.

That’s how I did it for years! Because I had to. And it worked.

But not anymore. Not well, at least.

So this month, I remind myself I don’t have to engage that way. You’re good! You can finish! No one’s bleeding anymore. Not as much, at least...

P.S. Audrey called while I was writing this post, so I showed her the photo I used (above). Sink baths! she said. I loved those! Remember all the sink baths we had? Yes, I sure do, Aud…
P.P.S. And Linc is, indeed, flying to Colorado on Friday! All’s well that ends well….?

7 thoughts on “my one word prompt {november twenty-two}

Add yours

  1. Remember to keep scrolling down to the end of the page when ordering anything. I can’t tell you all the missed items cause I thought I was thru clicking. Post a sticky note. KEEP SCROLLING.


  2. I very frequently respond to emails in my head but never actually do it on the computer. It’s a bad habit, especially if someone is waiting for a response from me in a timely fashion. There are times when it’s not realistic to send an email (like when I’m out on a run), so I should probably not read the emails then and wait until I’m in a place to actually respond. So you have my sympathy about the flight mix-up.

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  3. I hope everything got sorted and Lincoln IS indeed flying to CO this weekend!! One of the things I loved most about retiring from a big corporate job was having time to do things all the way through. These past four weeks with Lucy have challenged me to 1) remember how to “get by”; and 2) use my phone for all the things. I’ve learned that getting by is not my favorite and some things are still better with a computer (and a not-distracted-brain 🫥)


  4. Oh yes. I called that Parenting by Need- with three boys , one of them always needed more than the others, they would just have to wait! Old habits die hard. I still do tend to walk into a room to finish the task in hand just to start something totally different. On the other hand I think oh that letter can wait till three days hence, only to be unable to sleep that night because it’s hanging over me… get up at midnight and start sending emails. For goodness sake!


  5. My series of “words” over the past couple of years were selected because of this problem. And so I started, but it wasn’t until this year and FULL that it really all sort of clicked. I had to learn to tell myself that it was okay to set things aside, to be selective in my focus, to remove things from my radar entirely. Do I still miss things? Yes, but not nearly as often… and the things I do miss are not earth shattering! (so maybe I don’t need to be doing them at all?)

    I am glad you sorted things and my hope is that you are now on the path of smooth sailing! XO


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