My dad died when I was 22 — long before I met my husband, or had my son — and my mom is very much alive. So you wouldn’t necessarily think that the book Parentless Parents, by my friend Allison Gilbert, would resonate with someone like me. And yet it is one of the most inspiring parenting books I’ve ever read.

Lots of moms rely on Grandma or Grandpa to watch their kids when they desperately need a night out, to get parenting advice, or to remember how much cinnamon goes into the kugel recipe, but what do parentless parents do? How would losing your folks affect how you raise your own kids?

Related: Confessions of a mother without a mother on Mother’s Day

Okay, it’s not the happiest of thoughts. But the book has made me realize that my mom won’t be around forever, and that instead of having yet another boring conversation about the weather in Florida, it was time to finally ask her what it was like growing up as an only child. It’s a subject we’d never discussed, despite the fact that my son has no siblings either.

My favorite chapter is about keeping your parents’ memories alive, and is filled with ideas that every parent can use right now; not only to make sure our kids remember their grandparents, but to insure we leave lasting memories of ourselves.

And if nothing else, Parentless Parents inspired me to make sure that, instead of taking all the pictures on a family vacation, I actually step in front of the camera once or twice.–Betsy

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