Given my shorter-than-short attention span, I've never found New Year's resolutions to be especially useful. Plus, now that my memory is crammed with the minutiae of the kids' lives _ like where mittens are, current shoe sizes and who is allergic to penicillin _ I can't remember anything about my own life anymore.
Until I can get my hands on Dumbledore's pensieve, my only memory aid is sticky notes. Without them, I'd simply wander around in circles muttering to myself. I do this anyway but sans stickies, I'd do it a lot more.
I stick 'em on any surface that I can. "Check" is frequent note on our back door, stuck there to remind me to either write one or deposit one. "Milk" often finds itself on my car keys. I'll pull "column" off my desk as soon as I send this off. It will soon be replaced by another yellow square that says something like "clean" or "grade" or "call."
Every now and again I manage to forget what I was going to write on the sticky note just as I was walking to get one. It amuses the kids when I walk back to where I was when I first had a need to remind myself of something that I can't now remember.
My hope is that this is simply a sign of cramming too much in my head and not the beginnings of a brain tumor. My theory is that if I can generally recall who I am at any given moment and who these short people demanding snacks are, then I won't rush to the ER for an MRI. Yet.
Where was I going with this? Oh, right. Resolutions.
I can't fit a whole sentence on a sticky note. Fortunately, I don't need to. Just the one word in a prominent place is enough to jar my memory. Which is why, rather than write out resolutions every Dec. 31, I pick a word that I'll focus on during the coming year. Previous words have included "create," "peace" and "patience." In 2006, the word was "listen," which was a silly word to choose when you have two kids younger than 5. There is just so much to hear in any given day that you are all listened out by the time night comes.
Before I sat down to take care of the "column" sticky note, I dug around in my brain to find this year's word. It wasn't there. I flipped through past columns, in the hopes that I might have mentioned it in print somewhere. No dice. Which leads me to the conclusion that I must not have had a word for 2007.
This makes me sad. It's hard when a tradition dies, even a small, silly one.
It was for the best, however. The past year has been a weird one, where we all found ourselves scattered in dozens of directions without making any noticeable progress toward any one goal.
The past 365 days have been more of a holding action. The Diva grew from a preschooler to a kindergartner. The Dude went from being a baby to being a toddler. The kids spent so much time growing that my husband and I did our best just to keep up with them.
It was a good year but I can't put my finger on any big thing that I, personally, accomplished, other than not forgetting too many checks or gallons of milk or deadlines. Which is an achievement all its own, granted, but I'm not as satisfied as I could be with it. I like goals. I like getting things done. It is why I have sticky notes in the first place.
I blame my lack of a word for 2007 for a year full of personal inertia.
This year will be different. My word for 2008 is "movement." It just fits on a sticky note, which is now stuck above my desk.
Movement _ both in a literal and psychological sense _ feels like the right choice for right now.
Now that the boy is approaching 3, I can't keep blaming the state of my flabby midsection on him. And now that he's approaching 3, I have more time to get moving.
I also need to get my mind moving, too, which is the far more challenging task. I just feel like I'm stuck in a mental rut. Don't get me wrong _ it's a lovely rut, all things considered, but is a rut regardless. Sometimes you have to crawl out, even if it's just to topple into another ditch.
It might turn out that my restlessness is a result of an election year _ in which case, forget I said anything about needing to move. Although if I lose my sticky note, I'll go ahead and forget it myself.
Adrienne Martini is freelance writer, instructor at the State University College at Oneonta and Hartwick College, mom to Maddy and Cory and wife to Scott and author of "Hillbilly Gothic," published by the Free Press.