Humorist Erma Bombeck once wrote that guilt was the gift that keeps on giving. I no longer want this gift because it makes me crabby, unproductive, and resentful when I prefer to be sparkling, positive, and somewhat creative. So I intend to scamper to the top of this heavy pile of baggage, raise my liberated, wrinkled arms to the sky, and declare with gusto: Guilt be gone!
I started carrying bags of guilt when I returned to work full-time and my children, ages two and five, went to 10 hours of child care five days a week. Back in the pioneer days of Women in Management, businesses did not offer flex time, or time off for birthday parties at school, or tolerance for sick children. “Suck it up and get to work” was the prevailing philosophy.
I started to shed the guilt when my darling children went off to college, just about the same time my widowed mother’s health began to decline. She lived alone for twenty years before I moved her to an assisted living facility in Boise. After each visit, she would sit in her wheelchair in the doorway of her apartment and wave until I was out of sight. The baggage came back.
To preserve what remains of my eroding sanity, I refuse to pick up the bags again. I take comfort in knowing that my children are wonderful young adults who are making the world a better place. They are happily married, and their homes are full of love. We see my mother more than ever, and we include her in our family activities. So, get behind me Guilt because I’m not going to carry your bags anymore. Now my biggest garbage will consist of empty wine bottles.
To celebrate my enlightened decision, I opened a bottle of 2009 Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. Its smooth taste includes black currants, raspberries, and a hint of cocoa. It sells for $25 at Alberstons, and now Preferred Customers receive a $3 discount. Better stock up…