For those of you who have or had parents as reliable as mine, when did you last reflect on how much that one factor contributes to good mental health?
Although the unfailing reliability of my parents is rarely completely off my radar, this critical trait of theirs often seems to come into sharper focus when my daughter and I reminisce about her early years. When she speaks of how her mother and I were where we were supposed to be - at the time she expected us - it's easy for me to recall the stability and predictability my parents provided during my childhood; I always felt safe. Feeling safe as a child - the most vulnerable time of life - has no down side. If your parents were consistent like mine, i.e. you shared my childhood experience of feeling safe, I hope you're grateful.
But before allowing yourself to treat the reliability of your parents as a given, consider an alternative. Observe the walking wounded among us. Listen carefully as they speak. Encountering broken people and hearing their childhood stories is a humbling reminder of how fragile the edifice of good mental health really is. As a parent, I'm heartened by those conversations with my daughter. And as a sixty six year old child, those same conversations refresh my gratitude for my parents, again.