I read a book recently about relationships between mothers and grown daughters. While some of it didn't apply, one chapter hit me right between the eyes. The authors gave many quotes that describe how adult children of parents, especially adult daughters, worry about their parents' well-being. This can make it harder for them to enjoy their own lives and to mature into adult roles, such as marriage, parenting, and work. Of course, as adult parents, we are going to age and may come to the point where we will need our children's help. The problem comes when we suffer not from real aging or real infirmity, but when we suffer from our own neglect of our spiritual, physical, and emotional health. However, if we take appropriate care of ourselves and we stay happy and involved in life for as long as we can, we do benefit our children. We send the message that it is ok for them to grow up and become adults.
Hmm...I'm convicted that I need to step it up in taking care of myself. Since I am the mother of adult children and the daughter of aging parents, I can see this dilemma from both sides. Quite a few of us are in the "sandwich generation", where we are both parent and child. That means we are busy, busy, and if we aren't careful, we will neglect such things as fresh air, exercise, a little fun, and some quality sleep. Making even small investments in those things will help us stay fit for all of the people whom we love.
How about you? Do you find it hard to make time for the basics of good health? Have you ever worried that your parent wasn't doing all he or she could to take care of his or her health? Do you think much about how your own health choices impact the lives of people whom you love? I'd love to hear your thoughts.