Bucket Filling

In Ithaca, New York, Robin Botie wants to fill a bucket for her son on Easter.I wanted to be a mother on Easter again. But my son, in his adult state, does not like sweets. What can you give to someone who has everything? Who buys, faster than light, whatever he needs or wants? I bought him a bucket. And tried to fill it for him.

For my birthday he had taken me to one of our favorite restaurants. After dinner we sat over glasses of Armagnac and I asked him, “What’s next?”
“I don’t know,” he said. And not wanting to bring up the touchy topic of job searches on a peaceful evening, I tweaked my question toward the outer limits:
“Don’t you have a bucket list?”
“I’ve already done everything on my bucket list,” he said. And he named a dozen amazing things he’d experienced in his remarkable young life.
“Well, you can’t be all done. There’s gotta be places you want to see, more things you want to do,” I said, thinking of my own bucket list, which is endless.
“No, I can die at fifty.”
“No. You can’t,” I told him. “Because I wanna live to a hundred and you can’t leave me childless.” Losing a child was not something I wanted to do twice.

Over the next week I tried to make a list for him: see sunrise on a hot-air balloon over the caves of Cappadocia in Turkey; watch the sunset in Santorini, Greece; eat at the Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence; visit an active volcano; howl naked at the moon with wolves; give a homeless person a hundred dollar bill; attend a birth, … but you can’t make a bucket list for someone else, no matter how much you love him.

The day before Easter, I scrunched my way through a crowded Wegmans gathering travel-sized toiletries and smoked salmon, Clementines, a RedBull energy drink, … special breakfast items. Even a man with no plans and no hunger could appreciate a new toothbrush and a nice Easter breakfast.
Behind the bakery counter, a woman smiled as she drew icing-faces on bunny cookies.
“Do you love your work?” I asked.
“Oh yeah, decorating cookies is the perfect job for me,” she said. “I look forward to it every day.” I added a bunny cookie to my son’s breakfast collection.
At the Agway store, I grabbed a five-inch tall metal bucket off the shelf. The possibilities for a small bucket, even empty, are limitless.

There was one more bucket left on the shelf. I took it for myself.

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8 thoughts on “Bucket Filling

  1. Elaine Mansfield

    Me, too, Robin. What goes in your bucket? You just gave me the best idea for Christmas gifts for next year. I’m buying my sons and daughter-in-law buckets. And I’ll add some silly Santa treat. If I follow your lead, I’ll remember to get one for myself.

    1. robinbot Post author

      Definitely don’t forget the one for yourself. I just filled the sweet little bucket with more chocolates to get me through the week of rain they’re predicting. Christmas gifts so soon? Can we maybe sneak a little summer in first?

    1. robinbot Post author

      Yeah, mine’s growing faster than I can check things off. But what the hay – no commitments, no maintenance. My own bucket list is very similar to the one I tried to dream up for my son. Funny how it took thinking of someone else to be able to realize i actually had my own bucket list. And of course, you can’t make one for someone else. Let’s talk bucket lists sometime.

    1. robinbot Post author

      Do you have one, Jae? I didn’t realize I had a bucket list until I started thinking about my son’s. It feels good to know I have one. And it’s free and doesn’t require any updating or maintenance or commitments – unlike to-do lists. So I can keep it.


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