Our parents are the lead characters in our first story. Whether they loved us, left us, or lost us somewhere along the way—or we lost them—our parents are the passageway of our arrival into the world. Our parents, particularly our mothers, are the first and most intimate bond we have with the world and ourselves. What they imprint on us can make life feel welcoming or fearsome—and sometimes both.
We wait for the better thing that is just beyond our reach, that great good thing that will finally make us happy and whole. We are more than willing to wait for it, even though it take a lifetime. The thing is, waiting to fully live until the right set of circumstances comes along is like waiting for a pie to cook without ever turning on the oven. It takes some heat to get the gold, on a pie or in a life.
Chances are, if you are deeply connected to the people in your life, you may find yourself in the role of a caregiver someday. It’s part of the “all-in, for better or worse” deal that we choose to make with our partners, kids, parents, siblings and friends. It can be the deep end of a seemingly endless, dark sea of physical, emotional and, often, financial support for someone whose future is uncertain. Recognize that caregiving can be one of the sweetest, most meaningful experiences of your life, or leave you gutted and bone dry. In reality, if you take that role on, it will likely do both, sometimes in the same hour.