I call this part 1 because there will definitely be others. I often say to mothers in my office that I think when a baby is born a cloud of guilt floats out to hang over the mother’s head for life. No matter how well you can work a cognitive triangle there is some level of feeling bad in most decisions.
This was our first weekend with 3 little lives to feed, entertain, and keep safe (in no particular order). Well its safe to say the guilt cloud exists even if you didn’t birth the babies and you have only known them a week.
Saturday, we decided (refer to “Hard choices” blog for our stance on this….hint: eight ball) to drive one hundred and twenty-two miles to Grovetown, GA to visit our “framily.” Mike, Dani, Zephie, Zeke, Isaiah, and Grandma Dot loved on us and in their mere presence I felt better. Its pretty cool how people can do that. Just the relationship and connection brings peace and fills you with love. I hope we do that for people they way they do. The trip was long but included a nice Chick-fila stop. 15 minutes from Thomson, there is nothing, so of course the 8 year old announces she has to go to the bathroom. We don’t make it. Thomson doesn’t come soon enough and she has an accident. This is NOT her fault. Like many things in these sweet kids lives (all kids, really) not their fault. But the guilt I write about tonight is not just my own. She was so shamed, even though we assured her that accidents happen and long highways make for tricky bathroom stops. Let’s ping that guilt on over to me.
Although the visit was exactly what we needed it took the kids a L O N G time to warm up (duh). I knew it wouldn’t be “automatic-free-for-all-play” like its Disneyland situation but I didn’t attend to those warning feelings. I knew Meg and I needed the support. Just for someone to witness our lives for a day and feel loved and encouraged. Early on, right before nap time (which is a recharge time for me too) I was feeling so guilty. What if this was a bad idea and maybe we should just leave? What if the kids needed more time to adjust to just us and our house and this was a mistake? What if they don’t say a word the entire time we are here? What if this takes us back 400 steps? I wonder if Meg felt this. What if Megan didn’t really want to make the trip but I pressured her? What if we offend others in Augusta because we aren’t visiting them? I never really resolved those feelings, I coped and swallowed the big lump, cried a few times and kept on. Fast forward to later on in the visit and everyone was running and jumping and smiling and painting and dancing and being held and tickled. But enough of that fairy tale ending; we had to say good-bye. A new guilt came back, one I know well but haven’t thought in awhile. I felt guilty for picking up my family and moving 2 hours from all we knew.
Guilt got punted back to our 8 year old. Its terribly tough to articulate but I am afraid she is feeling some guilt for having fun with us. I will leave that right there.
Guilt is a motherfucker (sorry Mom, I typed for 10 minutes and still didn’t come up with another way to describe it. It rides shotgun and tries to drive your car; it gives wrinkles and grey hair (ugh, I need to get my hair done). Here are a few reasons I felt the yucky guilt word this weekend:
I felt guilty for any time I had to redirect (kind word for discipline) a child today….its clear the honeymoon is ending and we are seeing some ornery behavior.
I felt guilty for taking a little too long at Costco and leaving Meg with the kids who woke up from their nap.
I felt guilty for being sassy to my mom when she made a generous offer that wasn’t what I wanted.
I felt guilty because I fed the kids fast-food 2 times in one day.
I felt guilty because I worried that Megan wasn’t getting the support she needed from me.
I felt guilty because our dogs aren’t getting the best attention.
I felt guilty because I am worried I can’t be the employee I have been.
I felt guilty because its Sharon’s birthday and we didn’t get her anything; not even a card. (Happy birthday Sharon Hiers, we are so glad you were born and celebrate you).
I felt guilty because the oldest has a Christmas performance Tuesday night and I have group therapy the same time and won’t be able to go to her performance because I have to work; and I am secretly hoping she won’t want to go so I don’t miss it.
(there are more but I am starting to feel shitty so I am going to move on for now).
I will end with a few notes I collected from Church.
1. I wish church was everyday, it was just like being at Mike and Dani’s, that same love was evident and the kids did pretty good.
2. “Listening at church” was a little more challenging than normal but I loved the message; the theme of being who you were meant to be “right now” and to jump ship from the perpetual ladder climbing is my jam.
3. The blood of Jesus. Not actually blood but when you are 8; everything is literal. Therefore, I got 3 servings of communion today. Extra holy….we all know I need it.
4. The cacophony of children talking and giggling through the whole service was much needed validation.
Tomorrow is Monday; la escuela. This week comes with challenges of its own. Meg will be gone Thursday night and I am terrified.
Bless you all.