from Make Way for Ducklings
written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey
The Viking Press, 1941
I’m practicing my prioritizing skills. As my mom’s old refrain rings in my ears, I try to do what I have to do before I do what I want to do. Some days that works out better than others. Lists help.
I am pretty good at list making. Actually it’s the only way I feel productive. I smile when I see crossed-out items on my long (or not very long) list. Sometimes my list includes
clean cat boxes
Those are the days I know I need to move more, call more people on the phone and quit playing solitaire. I don’t have a lot of days like that.
On this 75th anniversary of the publication of Make Way for Ducklings, I’ll line up my ducklings, just like Mrs. Mallard did as she crossed the busy streets of Boston on her way to the Public Garden. She had important priorities.
She kept her ducklings safe.
She taught them how to look for food.
She celebrated their (and hers and Mr. Mallard’s) lives by cozying up in a warm nest at the end of a busy day.
With my own priorities "rowed up,"
I’ll speak up for vulnerable Americans.
I’ll deny the legitimacy of bigots and other haters.
I’ll celebrate my completed do-list by cuddling up on the couch with my arm around my husband, grateful for him, my girls and their families, and my very ability to feel grateful.