Recently I picked up jump roping again because it's a great way for me to get my cardio in. I was a bit rusty but I began to see improvements within a week. I started adding more complicated jumps into my routine and now I'm able to do them effortlessly.
Sometimes when I'm in the backyard jumping, my mom will watch me from a window. The whole twenty minutes that I'm jumping, she'll be there. When I'm done, she'll try to to compliment me with a broken sentence and I'll quickly nod and say, "Thanks Mom but it's not a big deal."
And then last night I realized how big of a deal it really is.
I was painting in my room and she'd come into my room and interrupt me. Without looking back I said, "Mom, not right now. I'm busy." She's kept insisting. I was becoming impatient so I turned around to deal with her. I saw that she was holding my jump rope. I asked her what she wanted and she said, "I want to do this. I want to jump."
My mom has Parkinson's. She is usually immobile with a lot of muscular pain. She is able to walk only when she takes her pills. Jump roping was the last thing I thought she'd want to do but she was being very urgent about it so I said, "Okay, let's go."
I explained to her that she should first practice jumping without the rope. Once she got that down, she'd be able to add the rope. She agreed and put them down. I asked her to do a jump for me but she couldn't. She stood there frozen. I started jumping up and down to demonstrate and she stared at my legs in wonder. She has very little control over her limbs. I know that she wants to jump but no matter how much she commands her legs, they won't move.
Whenever I help her get up from the couch, I count down with her and that motivates her to move. I thought that might help. "3.....2.......1!" There was no jump but she moved a tiny bit. I felt like I was on the right track. I kept repeating, "3.....2.......1!" and she'd move a little more. Eventually we got a small jump in. "Let's try with the rope now!" she said. I asked her to jump a few more times so I could see that she had gotten it down. She was practicing but kept getting stuck.
I went inside and found my dad. "It breaks my heart that she wants to do this so desperately but her body is failing her," I said. We looked outside the window she usually stands by when she watches me jump. She stood there frozen. We were determined to make her jump so we went outside.
I got the rope and gave one end to my dad. I had my mom stand in the middle and we tried to teach her how to time her jumps. We were counting down together now, "3......2........1!" and we'd swing the rope over her. She wasn't able to get off the ground so the rope would hit her feet. She kept saying, "Again! Again!" After about fifteen minutes she got a jump in! She was so excited that she forgot to continue her jumps. My dad exclaimed, "You were able to complete one full jump! Let's see if we can do two in a row!" She happily answered, "Okay!"
I positioned her and told her to focus on timing it right. We failed a bunch of times but then she did it! She got two jumps in and on the third one the rope hit her feet. She was beaming. She started to laugh uncontrollably and rushed to hug me. She kissed me on the cheek and said "Thank you!" I didn't know what to say. All I could do was laugh with her in amazement. She rushed to my dad and hugged him. My dad and I were stunned. We had just witnessed something incredible.
My mom has accomplished so much in her life but I've never seen her this happy. When she passed her licensing exams after moving to the United States, she was relieved. I know she was happy to a certain degree, but she had been under a tremendous amount of stress. She was mostly glad to be done with it. This was something different. She was overjoyed.
Don't take jumping for granted!