Yesterday was the best kind of day. Big Girl and I had breakfast and then I took her to school to visit her First Grade classroom. Her new teachers were wonderfully nice and she met some new kids and found her new locker and then she survived a mandatory lice check and I bought her a new stuffed Dalton tiger and one for each of her sisters. Then, I whisked her off to a "rainbow loom" play date with several other girls in her grade and they all huddled around a little art table in their dresses and bare feet and made jewelry out of colorful rubber bands and chatted nervously and smiled. And I had the privilege of watching her in the mix. She was quiet but happy. Quite comfortable even though she didn't know many of the girls or seem to care much about all of the American Girl talk.
While the little girls played and ate pizza, three moms and I ducked out for lunch. We went to a Mediterranean place nearby. We ate hummus and grilled shrimp and Greek salads. We talked about our summers and our girls and our hopes for, and anxieties about, the coming year. Together, we decided that it will be hard to simultaneously protect our daughters and let them go. It seems we are at the beginning of really having to do this.
After lunch, we wandered back to collect our girls and they were happy, these kids. They had bracelets and necklaces to show off and tired, but genuine smiles on their faces. In the taxi on the way home, I told my girl how proud I was of her. Then I took her for ice cream. I got some too and we sat on the front stoop of our house and ate it in the September sun and I just looked at her in awe, and I felt something: love. Deep, defining love.
But I also felt something else: guilt.
Guilt that I have this remarkably beautiful life. Guilt that my kids are happy and healthy and sweet. Guilt that often my biggest gripes are standard-issue exhaustion and not getting enough writing done before 6am. I also felt guilt at lunch when the moms were talking about the sinister evidence about giving kids juice because I let my girls swill oodles of juice. I also felt guilt when I returned home to my other two babes and they were fresh from the bath in their pajamas and it struck me that I hadn't seen them much that day.
It creeps into the cracks of my days. I imagine that I am not alone? I think guilt is a human thing, a thing that is perhaps inescapable. I don't really know. Anyway, I think this is an interesting topic so instead of rambling on and on as I tend to do, and love to do, I will turn it over to you guys, but before I do thank you for the warm welcome back yesterday. It is really fantastic to be back here. Also, wanted to let you know that I am going to do my absolute best to respond to all comments here...
Do you ever feel guilty about the blessings in your life, the things you do and don't do for yourself and your loves ones? Do you think women experience guilt more than men do? Parents more than non-parents? Or do you think we all experience our share of guilt and just experience it in different ways?