I was driving one day with both my teenage girls in the car. A crossroads was ahead. The fog was thick that day, and as I looked at the traffic light, I couldn’t figure out what it meant. The light was green, and my mind was blank. Panic rose in my chest — what was I supposed to do: go or stop?
“What does a green light mean?” I asked my girls.
They both shouted, “Go! Go! Mom, go!”
So I went. This was the first time I had noticed lapses (忘却) in memory or judgment, but at this moment in time, I realized how vulnerable I really was and that the results could affect my children.
This was a turning point — I gave the kids, who were both licensed drivers, permission to “call me out” on my driving. If I seemed too tired or spacey (麻木的) to drive, they could tell me to pull over and take over the driving. Nowadays, I am better at telling beforehand if I am too tired or my mind is too cloudy to drive, and the girls accompany me.
I don’t know if other parents with illnesses feel like failures. I know that I have felt that way many times. More and more frequently, I find my kids taking care of me. Massage (按摩) sore muscles, make sure I eat, open jars and repeat what they have already told me. They find the memory loss and lack of concentration very annoying. My younger daughter commented on how I never used to watch movies more than once, but now that I can’t remember them very well, I’m okay with watching them again.
Teenagers have much more entertaining things to do than take care of their sick mom. I have watched my girls take responsibility when they should not have to, but they do anyway without complaint, with love, kindness and compassion. I see how compassionate they are to others who are ill. These are some powerful blessings.