Deep in the middle of the winter, when snow and wind are normal weather conditions, it’s hard to believe that spring is just around the corner. But it won’t be long before we start shedding our heavy coats and donning our light jackets. And before we know it, the heat of summer will be upon us.

I often think of the abrupt transition from winter to spring as a metaphor for life. So often, we are so deep in the dark that we can’t even imagine the light at the end of the tunnel, let alone see it. But then, one day, a glimmer of hope appears and eventually we are in the light again.

Take a typical day in my house. I am lying on the couch, exhausted, thinking that I can’t take another day of caregiving at the end of a long work day. Just as I am debating whether to veg in front of a sitcom or go to sleep, I hear Mom calling me from the other room. I groan quietly and drag myself up to go see what she needs. But it turns out she is just looking for company. We sit and talk about anything and everything, and I finish the conversation with a smile in my heart.

I know the difficult days aren’t disappearing anytime soon. When I signed on as caregiver (even a part-time one), I signed up for many challenges, both physical and emotional. But it’s not all difficulties – I get enormous satisfaction from showing my mom how much I love and appreciate her. I know that by bringing her into my home for her waning years, I am forging a stronger relationship with her. I am glad that my children have so much love for “Nana,” and that they are learning by example how important it is to give to others.

As I walk to work bundled up in a coat, scarf and gloves, I note the glimmers of sunshine and the sprouting of flowers which herald the advent of spring. And I reflect on how lucky I am to experience all of the seasons. My life is a roller coaster of exhaustion, stress, beauty and love – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.