Coming Home From My Guilt Trip

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guiltThe start of a new decade has shown us that it’s possible to unify and separate an entire world population simultaneously in ways that none of us could ever have imagined. The pandemic, or “the scary germs” like my 4-year-old grandson prefers to call it, has ravaged the physical well-being of so many people to different degrees. Still, the emotional burden has been just as devastating.

Although many of us are fortunate enough not to be personally touched by a COVID tragedy so far, we are still struggling and adjusting to many disappointments and setbacks.

I finally realized that the most significant adjustment of all is getting rid of the tremendous, stifling guilt we carry around.

The newness of social distancing, wearing masks, and constant hand washing has diminished by now. Although occasionally at the supermarket, for a surreal minute, I look around at all the mask-wearing shoppers and can’t believe what I’m seeing. Sometimes I imagine myself as a time traveler from summer 2019 looking at everyone, thinking what in the world is happening?

And by now I’m sure each of us, especially us moms, along with our families, have had to revise, postpone or totally cancel happy occasions, some even milestones, the ones you count down and look forward to for our children. We have all been there. And Life. Will. Never. Be. The Same. Again.

Now that some time has passed and “pausing” our lives has become the norm, I realize that I’m still distraught, disappointed, and resentful for not being able to celebrate any big moments in my family’s lives properly because of the pandemic. I just managed to bury these feelings under a tremendous amount of guilt.

After all, how could I possibly complain about not having a themed sweet 16th birthday party or dinner out for my daughter in May, while another mom somewhere nearby in an ICU room was struggling to breathe and fighting for her life ALL ALONE! I think we can all relate, and it’s such an awful, crippling feeling.

It’s called GUILT!

I’ve made a real conscious effort recently to tone this feeling down because it’s too heavy and takes the joy out of everyday events that are still permissible, despite COVID, like cooking and sharing a tray of chicken cutlets with my family on a Sunday afternoon or enjoying a 2-hour chat with a good friend I haven’t seen in months because I wasn’t allowed to.

More so, I wasn’t allowed to kiss and hug my grandson on his 4th birthday in April. I couldn’t hold my sister’s two new grandchildren in my arms who are already a few months old. I could not properly celebrate my mom’s 85th birthday. And next month’s biggest disallowed event of all; my son’s wedding, that’s been in the works since the summer of 2019!

But yes, of course, things could be so much worse, and my family members are all generally well and content, especially the grandchildren because they keep us going amid such depressing times. We have gotten to spend time together after three months of tortuous quarantine! For all this, I am genuinely grateful, and for all the disappointments, it’s perfectly ok to feel resentful.

I’m positive most of you are too, but also feel a little crushed to have missed graduations, birthdays, weddings, parties, concerts, vacations, the list never ends.

Try to hold on to the gratitude, but shed some of that guilt. It lightens the load and makes room for what’s to come. Hopefully, an end to this life-altering pandemic, and the opportunity to take a nice vacation or throw a huge party with our loved ones sometime soon is around the corner.

Life is too short and precious for too many guilt trips. Instead, love and empathize with those who need it most, because we are all in this together!

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Fran was born, raised, married, and still lives in Mount Kisco, NY. She has four kids, including a teenage daughter and two precious grandsons, whom she babysits a couple of days a week. She also works part-time as an accounting clerk, helps run her husband’s excavation business, and lastly aspires to finish writing her book one day. Despite her crazy, busy schedule, she cooks almost every night for her big family and tries her best to keep up with the dishes! She truly believes spontaneity is the spice of life, and sometimes the very unexpected happens, but it’s usually all for the best. Enjoy her many tales of raising kids over 20 years; what an amazing journey!