We all need to feel that our children need us. Or that somebody needs us. Otherwise all the mani-pedis and massages and book clubs become pointless. Of course, it's important to take good care of and to occasionally pamper ourselves. We deserve that, and it's good for the ego and the body and the nerves. But I feel so much better after I've called a mourning friend and been able to make her laugh just for a moment, or shot an e-mail to a friend battling cancer to remind her that I'm praying and that she's not facing the day-to-day battle alone. I don't think it's ego. I think it's an awareness that we've got a job to do while we're here. We all fall down at different points of our lives. Our friends (and sometimes wonderful angel strangers) are usually there to pick us up. When they fall we pick them up. Eventually we help one another get to the other side.
As long as we don't all have our breakdowns on the same day, the system usually works, and I find it satisfying to be reminded once in a while that even though my babies are not babies any more, someone is still glad that I'm there to reach out a hand. And I'm glad I have someone to remind me to hold the railing when the stairs are icy, even if I might have figured it out on my own.