My nephew Adam turned 18 this week. A couple years ago I took him and his sister with me to Santa Clara, CA for a week-long conference. I also took along Dee and Em. We stayed at what was then a Westin Hotel across from Great America amusement park. Adam and Beak took the girls to rides during the day while I attended workshops on leadership. Then we met each night for dinner.
I asked Adam to teach me all the latest phrases young people say these days. I wanted to be “in the know,” someone my kids might not be too ashamed of someday when things like that matter. Now, two years later, I only remember two terms Adam taught me. “Sketch,” short for sketchy, is someone or some thing that’s suspect or scary looking. The other is “Your mother,” which is a sort of insult where you respond to a legitimate question such as, “What do you guys wanna eat tonight,” with “Your mother.” Except, well, that one turned out a little more crude than I meant.
ANYHOW, and now, speaking of my mother, I called her today to see how she’s doing. She’s 80 and I like to check in on her a few times each week. Unfortunately, she’s feeling a bit green around the gills, which isn’t surprising given she was exposed to the pestilence the girls brought home last week. Em had the vomiting bug while doing a weekend sleepover at Mom’s, and Dee’s been home three days with the croup. Mom, in the mean time, was in bed all day today a headache, diarrhea, and the shivers. “I’ll lose two or three pounds,” she joked when I told her how sorry I was for sending over a viral grandchild.
That’s Mom for you. We even talked about how sometimes you need a good excuse–something like a mild flu–to stay in bed all day and not feel guilty. And now I’m wondering what color guilt might be. If envy and greed and nausea are all green, and passion and rage are red, and meloncholy is blue, and death black, and faith purple, what color is guilt?
Your mother’s guilt.