My son says to me recently, “I thought parents are supposed to be able to fix every situation.” I could have taken this like a kick in the guts, because he was literally saying that I can’t always handle things, and that I frequently fall to pieces when the volume levels get high. But he was actually saying it in a moment of his own personal growth – he was feeling good because he had success helping me and the three year old get through a tantrum (the three year old was expressing her feelings, and I was pulling my hair out). I needed help and he could provide it. It was a positive moment for him. I’m going to take this as a win, because I need my kids to learn that a family operates where everyone, kids included, have a role to play. That Mum isn’t an Uber Human who can do everything, and that we all support each other. This is important to me – that the kids gain these skills, and develop confidence in themselves as problem solvers.
Its not easy having a parent with Parkinson’s (or any other kind of chronic illness). It can be difficult to handle the dopamine-deprived Mum, who is far more anxious and prone to stressed out tearful meltdowns. How I am from day to day can swing dramatically, depending on how successful I am at getting the right amount of dopamine. Its a tricky art, somewhat akin to being in a cage with a lion, buying little bits of time by periodically chucking treats at it from a dwindling supply. Any second now it could inhale all the goodies, just as you run out. Or, replete, it falls asleep in the corner and you escape only to discover you are also dependent on the lion for survival.
But somehow you continue.
I had gotten through a karate grading with a well planned medication regime that worked a treat. And I watched another adult go through an intensely hard grading to achieve the highest brown belt grade (just under black). I watched him, and for the first time I thought “I think I could do that” (after I’ve done an immense amount of training of course). But I will need maybe a few more years of the drugs working well, and working for long periods of time, to be able to do it. Also for the first time I began to think – the future is in getting rid of this thing, we gotta cure the bastard. Maybe working to do something to help that would in turn help me, build my hope (and generate some home-grown dopamine!).
I mean if this strawberry can survive all the birds in my garden, anything is possible!