Raising children is a lifelong commitment my mom told me. I contradicted. You mean until they are 18. No, sweetie. Lifelong she gently restated. With that smile of hers. (Still to date the best-smile-ever. Most genuine, loving, real and struck-by-lightening smile.) I grinned and typical to my 20-something self, thought, yeah. Right. Whatever. You’re just an amazing woman. Most parents aren’t like you.

Now the parent of adult children. And daughters-in-law. And a grandmother…she was right. Surprise. (Not.) Parenting is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And yes, also the most reinforcing, but that will keep for another day. Anxieties about AB and C are exchanged for worries about XY and Z. Pint-sized two-year olds are replaced by Tweens. Teens. Young adults. Who invariably grow into adults. And through it all, our hearts swell. Break. Expand. Quiver. Swell again. The cycle continues. How do we cope? Is such a thing possible…

I travel a lot and every time I hear the flight attendant repeat these words – “Secure your own oxygen mask before helping others” – it reminds me of something bigger. It reminds me to be mindful about the importance of self-care. Taking care of ourselves. We must be healthy and strong – spiritually, emotionally and physically – to do the best we can.

Feeling run-down. Tired. Exhausted even. Google search that. There are a myriad of articles warning us what happens when we try to get by without adequate rest. We are smarter than ever, and still we disregard the research. The warning signs. What we know we know. And that we ignore.

We cannot be good caretakers of others if our souls, bodies, and minds are not rested, focused, and grounded. Taking care of ourselves allows us to remain committed and strong during even the most challenging situations. And face those taxing circumstances we will. Such is the blessing of loving. Caring. Deeply. Unconditionally. What a joy. What an honor.