As I watched her steer the motorized cart around displays and through the aisles of the store, I realized that my mother continues to surprise me. Even now, as I find the need to be protective.
My mom has had Parkinson’s disease since it was formally diagnosed 43 years ago at age 43. She has done remarkably well. She still lives on her own. She still drives, though now mostly to church and back home. It has only been recently that walking for an extended period has become a challenge. A visit to the market requires her to be more adventurous.
I was not privy to these adventures until I was visiting her and we needed to go to the store. So, I was surprised as she confidently approached the motorized carts and checked each one for its power level.
Initially I was nervous and felt the need to be the vanguard, leading the way and making sure the coast was clear. I quickly realized that my mother is very capable and had learned to maneuver the motor vehicle through the store. She needed no help from me.
I smiled as I watched her swiftly move from place to place, managing to snatch needed provisions from shelves at the cart’s height, while gingerly stepping from the cart to get things that she couldn’t reach. Occasionally, she would enlist my help, but I began to feel that it was more for my benefit, to give me something to do, rather than because she really needed assistance.
Although my mom has become less physically able, she has learned to adjust to what life brings her, as she always has. I too am learning to adjust. Just because she seems frail, it’s all how one look at things. She wants to be independent and I must let her be just that, as long as she is able.
I’m seeing my mom in a new light, a light that tells me she will be okay.