I told my three-year-old the goldfish had died because she kept putting her hand in the water and made it dirty. She turned to the remaining fish: “Oh yeah, I’m really sorry about that fishy. I killed your brother.”
My little fish killer apologized, yet not a morsel of guilt was to be found in her heart. She has her own little brother. The two of them bite, hit, kick, scream, and apologize by force alone.
The word does not even register in their vocabulary. They know once they see through the apology and the hug, the world is set to right once again.
“Catholics have guilt and Jews have guilt, fine. But mothers can trump them all.” ~Diane Lane
I have struggled with guilt all my life, but motherhood has brought this sickening emotion to the highest of heights. How many mistakes I have made, how many times I have failed. My carelessness has placed them in grave danger. I thought I had connected their bike carrier to the back of my own bike securely the other day. Instead, I suddenly turn to the sound of honking horns, find my loves heading straight into the busy road! Every time I think of it I tremble, lose sleep for the condemnation eating me inside. I look their way. They are busy, happy, “Come play with us, Mom!” they shout among squeals of delight. There is no anger in their hearts, no resentment towards me.
I yell at my daughter, the sweetest little face ever to breathe. I break her dear form to tears with my selfish anger. I am the worst of the living – who yells at an innocent creature this way? I apologize, and she immediately wraps her sweet arms around me. She smiles once more, loving me without limit.
“Guilt is the source of sorrows, the avenging fiend that follows us behind with whips and stings.” ~Nicholas Rowe
As the parent, I thought I was the one who was supposed to instruct my children. This time, it is they who are playing the teacher. To face guilt like a child seems to be the only true way to happiness, peace. Freedom.
They are guiding me: I was not made to function in guilt. I mess up, I fall short, I fail utterly and ugly. I must get back up. I must move on. It is the only way I will survive.
I will never be the perfect woman, but I can try to be a great one, even if today I miss the mark.
Sasha at MomLife Now