Guilt must be my middle name. I am always quick to feel guilty, even over things I can't control. For instance, I feel guilty when I'm not actively quilting, and a recent issue of one of my quilting magazines didn't make me feel better. It featured a lady who is quilting - even selling her quilts - and she is legally blind. Ouch.
But mostly I feel guilty that I can't help out Rachel more than I am doing. Since I work Sunday through Thursday, Fridays are usually reserved for her. I urge her to schedule her appointments on Friday, so I can be there to babysit the little ones. I certainly don't consider it a duty; obviously, spending time with Caroline and Charlotte once a week is heavenly. But I still wish I could do more.
My own mother was a stay-at-home mom. I never knew her when she had a job. I remember hearing her talk about working before we were born, and it freaked me out a little to imagine my mom as a store cashier. I just couldn't picture it. She used to take us around downtown Memphis when we were little, and every time we passed a store called Silver's, she would remind us that she used to work there. It just didn't compute with me. Our mom wasn't a store clerk - she was...well...our mama! She cooked and cleaned and woke us up with wet washrags on our eyelids, she doled out dimes for A's on report cards, she washed clothes and hung them on the line, she washed dishes by hand, and she learned to drive one year in the empty Fairgrounds lot while my sister and I were held captive in the back seat of the car (before seat belts!) as she (with Daddy as instructor) tried to master the art of the brake and clutch. She made us sugar-coated frozen bananas, frozen chocolate milk, and delicious BLTs in the summer. She picked us up from East Elementary when we were too young to walk home, and forced us to eat raisins.
As we got older, she was always there for our every need. She could drop everything and come to school in the middle of the day to take us home if we were sick. She didn't have to "call in" to her job to stay home with her sick children because we (and Daddy) were her job.
After I got married and had children, there she was again, helping us at every turn. She stayed with Rachel and Matt when they were sick so I could go to my job at the hospital.
Basically, Mama has always been there for us, no matter what, no matter how old we were, no matter when or where. Unfortunately, I have to work these days, but my fondest dream is to be that available for Rachel and Matt. I will forever be limited in what I can do and when I can do it, but I still keep in my memory the generous role model of my mother.
(Also stuck in my memory are those pictures of us rolling around in the back seat screaming during her "driving lessons." That Survivor show doesn't have anything on us!)