Guilt, and its amazing ability to screw up life's best moments (if you let it).

I stayed home with a sick kid today. She wasn't full-on, can't-get-out-of-bed sick, but has two ear infections and we needed to give her a rest day to give the meds opportunity start working their magic.

I'll admit, I was initially quite irritated when I realized I'd have to manage a full day of business while nurturing and entertaining a preschooler. And I actually attempted to just plug her into a Redbox DVD and blitz out everything I had due today (I know, shame on me.)

That plan lasted about 17 minutes. And then she was hungry. Then thirsty. Then needed her medicine. Then hungry again. Then wanted help with her puzzles. Then couldn't find the missing ZhuZhu pet. Thirsty. Hungry. And then the worst one set in...

She was bored.

By 12:14 p.m., we'd just about run out of options that would allow me to stay even semi-glued to the laptop. And so I acquiesced and accompanied her outside to blow bubbles.

We went outside on a gloriously warm and sunny Portland day. Me and this beautiful little girl, who laughed and laughed as she chased these impressively giant bubbles around the yard. I paused for a second to soak in how spectacular that exact moment felt.

And then the guilt started to creep in. It sounded much like this...

  • "You should be inside getting that due-today resume done."
  • "You really need to respond to all those emails piling up in your inbox."
  • "You still haven't found a controls engineer to fill that critical position your client has open."
  • "You haven't done a blog post in nearly a week (loser)."
  • "Exactly when are you going to prepare for tomorrow's consult call."
  • "What kind of slacker are you, sitting on a sunny driveway, playing with your kid in the middle of a busy work day? Huh? Huh? Huh?"

It was then that I realized how ludicrous this inner dialogue was, and how guilt has this amazing way of screwing up some of the most precious, to-be-cherished moments in life ... if you let it.

I decided not to let it.

I'll be up late tonight. And if I owe you a project, rest assured, it will be delivered on time.

But today, I had a sick kid at home. And she wanted to blow bubbles on a sunny Portland afternoon.

And so that is what we did.

Photo: Creative Commons (ricardo/

Jenny Foss5 Comments