I had always promised my mother that she could retire at the age of 50 and do everything she kept herself from while raising me on her own. As expected from a self-made woman, Mom declined my generous offer many times, saying, “You should save your money for your future family. I have a great job – no need to worry about me.”
I only got to fulfill my promise when my mother got diagnosed with goiter at 52 years old and was ordered by the doctor to stop most – if not all – of her stressful activities. The first thing that I asked her to stop doing was going to her job. As an account executive, Mom had to worry about the company’s expenses all the time, to the point that she could not rest during report or tax week. I thought my mother would still look for excuses, but I was pleasantly surprised when she filed her resignation letter the next day – effective immediately.
Now, despite Mom’s seemingly high-profile job, it did not mean that she had six or seven figures in the bank. Fate did not smile kindly at our little family until she reached 40 years old, as that’s when she took on the executive role. But then, my mother had to pay for a massive loan that she needed to get during my first semester in college – if she didn’t, the bank would take our home, which my grandparents bequeathed to her. I remember telling Mom back then that I would go to a community college; however, she insisted that going to an Ivy League school would afford me the best opportunities in the world. Hence, my mother had been paying for everything even a few years after I graduated – even if I tried to take over that financial responsibility once I got a regular job.
Being A Breadwinner In The Family
When my mother retired, I already had a wife and two kids. Mom and Lisa (my wife) had always gotten along, so it was a no-brainer for Lisa to let my mother live alone when we had another bedroom in the house for her. She was kind enough to say, “If Mom was here, she could teach me her recipes, and I could drive her to her doctor’s appointments.” That made me grateful for my wife, thinking that that’s one less task for me to do.
Regarding my salary, I could say that I earned more than an average American like a real estate agent in California. My kids went to an excellent Catholic school; Lisa did not need to work and help with the house bills. But since I decided to take care of Mom and pay all her bills, I felt the need to work double-time. I would leave the house earlier than usual and scout for potential places to buy and sell; I would not go home until I secured some clients. Sometimes, I would do an open house on the weekends to gain more customers. My entire family worried that I was overexerting myself, but I often said that I was okay. I was already the man of the house – I had to do my part well, even if it meant dealing with sore muscles.
Getting Aromatherapy Massage Regularly
I let go of many extracurricular activities that cost me a lot in the past, but one thing I could not get rid of was aromatherapy massage. My wife and I were already regulars at a spa near the house because we would take turns going there to soothe our aching muscles.
The smell of the essential oils allowed me to focus on the expert hands of my masseuse as they glided all over my achy spots, which were usually my calves and back. It would genuinely hurt once the masseuse pressed hard on my sore muscles, but I typically gritted my teeth through the pain, knowing that I would come out feeling lighter and more relaxed. Truth be told, I tend to fall asleep halfway through the massage – that’s how calm I felt every time.
Without the regular aromatherapy massage, I might have lost my mind months before that. I immediately realized that I bit more than I could chew when I made my mother retire and handle all her bills, but I was not one to back away from my promises. I kept working hard to make ends meet and ensure that my family would not deal with hardships in the future. Every month’s hour-long massage session gave me a chance to stop thinking about work, which helped me find a balance between work and personal life.
My mother had successful surgery for her goiter, thank you very much. My wife and I were still very much in love, and our kids were doing well. As for my job, I managed to build a real estate company – albeit a small one – and had a handful of agents working for me.
I say it’s all because of the regular massage therapy sessions that I have gotten that stabilized my mental health during those tough times.