When I was a child I longed for a mother like June Cleaver or Donna Reed. Fictional characters but a fantasy for me. Day-dreaming that when I was sick I would be cuddled by my mother, given juice and water, soup, a cold compress, temp taken and maybe a bell by my bedside to ring when I wanted anything.

As adult I give that to my children, well not the literal bell, but the equivalent in electronic form, texting if I am not in the room.

I didn’t have a fictional mother, I had a real one who did provide the basics but was not capable of providing the emotional caretaking that I longed for.

She did her best and I am grateful for her. She passed seven years ago.

Now as a 62 year old adult, I must be my own caretaker. It is self-care, loving myself, and modeling for my children as well.

I no longer long for my mother or anyone else to take care of me when I am feeling sick and fortunately I am still able to care for myself and have had only minor set backs in terms of my health.

In addition to providing for my physical needs, I am learning to add to my spiritual tool box and provide for my emotional needs during those times as well and meet others where they are.

We may be in community with others, but caretaking, emotionally and physically is ultimately up to you.

The adage is “there is nothing like a mother’s love” should be updated to “there is nothing like self-love and self-care”.

You may be fortunate and have others provide some caretaking, but you should love yourself enough to take the best care of you.

My new mantra comes from Rakim, applies to my self-care, my life is guided by the five pillars of creativity he identifies: “purpose, inspiration, spirituality, consciousness, and energy’.