I know you think that children starving in Africa is all of your fault. Isn't that what your mom said to you when you were 12, still sitting at the table because you wouldn't finish what was on your plate?
"Kids in Kwackistan would kill to be eating your pork chop and three-bean brussel sprout casserole. You should be grateful."
Well, you should be grateful. Matching socks, penicillin, leafy vegetables — all things we should be thankful for. And still, it wasn't your doing then, and it is not your doing now that fried pork doesn't keep well in an envelope. You can stop feeling guilty about kids in Kwackistan.
While we are on the subject — world peace isn't your fault either. I know the pretty girl with the crown thought it was worth her time, strutting around in a sash and heels to promote. But she didn't get anything done about it after she won the lifetime supply of Mr. Max lipstick.
You have felt bad about that one since you were 18. You can let it go now. Actually, as a rule, you should stop feeling guilty all together. So dump your plate in the trash or give it to the dog and forget the perpetual guilt. It is a lousy state emotionally and it is an equally lousy way to motivate yourself.
Here are a few other things you can stuff into the imaginary red balloon and let float up into the universe until it hits the airline traffic lanes and gets wrapped up in a turbine engine and ruins someone else's day:
It could be said that they were darn lucky to have you as a mother. So you forgot to give them the key to the house when your husband took you on a second honeymoon to Yellowstone. They got to know the neighbors and now they don't forget to take their house key with them.
Not being rich
You know that this was one of your goals: lose weight; create a children's workshop promoting literary and proper personal hygiene skills in third world countries; get rich. Well, guess what? It didn't happen. We still like you anyway. And not all of your children will be lawyers or podiatrists. Some will manage a fast food restaurant, and you will be just as proud — even if a little poor.
Speaking of losing weight,
you are not going to fit into your highschool swimsuit unless you get diabetes or ingest a worm. And, ew! So take that four inch square of nightmare lycra off the refrigerator.
At this point in your life you planned on having a meditation garden named after you with a wishing fountain of dreams to collect change that would then be donated to orphans. Outward manifestations of your inner spiritual and emotional status are just not important. Congratulations for realizing that. It's OK to remove the "I brake for Mahayanan Nuns" sticker — if you need the space on your bumper.
He doesn't look like Benedict Cumberbatch, speak like Aaron Sorkin or move like Robert Fairchild. In fact he may not know who any of those guys are. And he may not have his hair anymore. Not your fault. And I hear George Clooney has Clark Gable breath.
Being the well-spoken picture of civility
You almost hit this one until Bobby Jo's mother accused your daughter of throwing her elbows during the city Jr. league girls basketball championships, and you decided to show Bernice what throwing elbows looked like. Good news is that your daughter knows you have her back — which means infinitely more.
With all there is to feel bad about, choose wisely what you let keep you down and what gets you rearing to try again or to give it another shot. Regardless of what they say from the fire and brimstone pulpits or a well-meaning article in a family website, getting out of bed and mowing the lawn in your teen son's basketball shorts and boots is still getting the lawn mowed, so you can let the red balloon go.