Hot tears sting my eyes and steam my sunglasses making it difficult to see as I drive myself home. "What is wrong with me?" I sob into the phone, my words distorted by my choking cries. "Why am I like this?"
The guilt surrounds me like a fog, thick and muggy, "close" my Grandmother would say. It makes it hard to see, hard to breathe.
Why do I feel this guilt, you might ask? Where is it that I am returning from that warrants such contrition? A two-day drinking bender? A mani/pedi/ facial appointment? A shopping spree funded by money meant for my children's college fund?
I was happily bouncing from store to store doing "The Bunny's" bidding. Purchasing assorted and sundry items that make a child's Easter Basket something worth finding.
I enjoyed going shopping. Especially without the children. And therein lies the problem.
That forever feeling, my constant companion. My perpetual guilt.
If I enjoy myself, then I must be doing something "wrong." I don't know where it comes from, but it seems to be the theme of my life.
As a young child of 8 or 9, I remember waking in the morning and inquiring of my family members if anyone was "mad at me?" As if a child could do something to disappoint & disgruntle in her sleep.
The guilt strikes again as I am faced with making the terrible choice between going out front to watch the kids play or staying inside and making dinner. Both activities I enjoy. Both require similar levels of interaction and effort, and yet the choice is agonizing. Damned if I do, damned if I don't. Just damned.
In my rational head I understand that THIS is specifically why parenting is designed as a "Partner Event" but I can't seem to get past the idea that I should be doing everything. I should be supervising the play and I should be cooking the dinner. My love says cheerfully, "I'll do whatever you want, supervise or make dinner." And then the tears come.
He stands before me, puzzled, as always. Baffled and bested, beaten down.
The guilt thing is NOT new. In fact, it is as old as I am.
This cycle has continued into our married life and I want desperately to break it.
I search his face for answers, but there are none. Just a man, a wonderful, patient man who has spent years trying to understand why he too is damned. Damned to perpetuate the gentle cycle of insanity.
He envelopes me in a hug, wrapping his strong arms around me.
I know the control is mine. I know that the power belongs to me to break the cycle. But I'll be damned if I know how.