8 Minus 5

I pulled up a chair and began thinking of all the tasks I didn’t complete today.

I didn’t make an appointment to have our car repaired.

I didn’t take the lawnmower in for service.


I didn’t fold the laundry.

I didn’t fix dinner so Kim could relax on her birthday.

I thought about calling my mother. I considered fixing the fan on the kid’s computer. And I was this close to getting on the treadmill.

But I didn’t. None of it.

And then I heard a pencil hit the floor followed by a workbook. As I turned around to tell Anna Lynn to get to bed, she asked, “Can you help me with my math?”

I moved the Diet Coke off my desk to make room for her workbook full of subtraction problems.

8 minus 5.

Anna thought for a moment. A few fingers went up and then down.


We did a few more. Each column taking less time than the previous one. 

“Sometimes I draw my sixes backwards.”

“Let’s practice a few”, I told her.

She found the culprits, giggled and broke out an eraser. After the sixes were fixed she decided to repair some 5’s that looked like 2’s.

“I fixed them so they don’t look silly anymore.”

I agreed.

And that’s  how I spent the next fifteen minutes. Until every number that could be subtracted from another was completed. She jumped off the chair, gave me a hug, and darted upstairs.

The most important part of my day didn’t sit still long enough to make the list.

Who cares.

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