Mom’s Shifting Role as It Relates Parkinson’s

I grew up in a 2 parent home. My dad worked as a realtor. My mom occasionally taught piano lessons and raised 6 kids.

For most of my early years, I remember Mom running around like a tornado, attempting to keep everyone in check. What else could you do with 3 little boys and 3 little girls?

Financial responsibilities

By the time my Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, I was legally an adult. My parents were both in their 50s.

Dad began talking about an early retirement, which wasn’t actually possible because he didn’t really have a retirement fund. Instead, he told my mom that he needed her to step up and take the reins.

At first, I fought the idea. I wasn’t really convinced that my mom should bear the brunt of the financial responsibility in our home. And how, after so many years of child-rearing, would she be able to re-enter the job market with success?

Caregivers make sacrifices

Yet, Mom began stepping back from her duties as a homeschooling mother, and then she started looking for jobs. It’s difficult to imagine the sacrifice surrounding the life of a caregiver. At times, it seems like they forfeit much of themselves in order to prop their loved ones back up.

In my Mom’s case, she has always leaned on her relationship with God to prop her up during the hard times. But I’ve always wondered if there was resentment stirring too.

If she could’ve chosen a direction in her post-mother life, would it have been in a cubicle? Or would she have returned to a life of full-time piano teaching, where she lit up like a lightbulb?

Giving up her passion

There were many years when I advocated for her passion. As an entrepreneur, I knew how consistency and drive could turn your talents into a booming business.

But you have to want it. If you don’t pour every ounce of your love into your business, you’ll be lucky to create any stability.

“Don’t give up on piano, Mom,” I’d tell her, knowing how much joy it brought her to show students the way to success. But consistency always won, and there was very little consistency in piano teaching.

A few years later, she began giving up teaching gigs. She was working over 50 hours a week to try to balance her responsibilities as a caregiver and her responsibilities to herself. Piano teaching began to fade.

Providing for the family

As I’ve gotten older, the sequence of events makes more sense. It isn’t that her love of piano began to fade. It’s more that her love of my Dad is greater than her love of piano. And she was unwilling to take any financial risks when it came to supporting her family.

I wonder, at times, if I would’ve been so selfless. Would I give up pieces of my passion to provide for someone I love?

Though I’m not in that position, and I often find that my projected ideas are different when they come to fruition, I’m doubtful that I would. Is it possible to be happy while compromising your passions?

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