Many of you who have been reading for awhile know that Troy and rent the house I grew up in from my parents.
Any of you who have been reading this blog since last September know that my mom has MS – Multiple Sclerosis. She landed herself in the hospital last fall, which turned in to a stay in a long-term care facility for a few weeks.
That was a stressful time for everyone. My mom wanted to be home, my dad wanted my mom safe (and also wanted her home), and my sister and I who both work full-time set up a visitation schedule that included bringing dinners because my mom was not a fan of the facility’s food.
I distinctly remember driving home one night freaking out. Is this our family’s future? At that moment, I called my dad and said “sell the house you live in now, and move in with us”. My dad laughed and brushed it off, but I persisted. I needled and pressed. They both brushed it off for months.
Right after Christmas, I was the first one to family dinner. While Jack was playing, I asked mom and dad how they were doing. They glanced at each other and said “we’re managing”, to which I responded “should life be about managing, or enjoying”?
I’m not sure if it was that conversation, or just a culmination of things happening, but they relented, and the planning began.
At this point, the architect has finished the plans, and we’ll be heading towards the permitting process soon. Construction will likely start in August or September, and god willing, it will be well progressed in time for the November rainy season.
My little family will have the upstairs floor, and a small portion of the existing basement. The basement will also be pushed out and over to add space; essentially creating a roomy and private one bedroom apartment. The addition to the side will add another bedroom upstairs, which will become our new master. It will be nice to have a third upstairs, as the third bedroom was in the basement, leaving us to plan for Jack and #2 (whenever that will happen) sharing a bedroom.
I have some friends who can’t imagine living with their parents, but it has never given me a second of pause. My family is tight, and we look out for each other. My parents have been my rock and have been so instrumental in pushing me to follow my dreams. Their emotional, and at times financial support has made so many things possible in my life.
A friend of mine said that having them move in would be like a way for me to thank them for everything, but I don’t see it like that. Even if they had never gone above and beyond for me, I’d still want them living with us. Life is not about paying back what you’ve taken, but rather doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing. I love my parents and I’m so excited to have them move in with us. As challenging as it might at times, it won’t be any more difficult than worrying about them all the time.
When I was 5, my parents bought some property and were planning on building a house. After all the plans were finalized, they realized the cost would be more than they could afford. They put that dream on hold, and started looking for a ready built place. Driving around one day, my dad found this house, and gently “broke in” and looked around. It was instant love for the whole family. Even when I left home and lived in other cities and states, I always considered this house my home. My little town was a fabulous place to grow up, and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.
My parents loved this house as well, and only left it reluctantly in 2007 when it became too much upkeep for them, and it wasn’t accessible for their gimpiness. They bought a condo next to my mom’s best friend and were fine there for a few years. Both of them love this house, the town, and the view. Having them come home again is what is best for everyone. They get to live where they love, and we get to help them live independently. We get stability in our living situation, and they get to live with a four-year-old naked superhero who makes everyone smile. They get homemade meals, and air dried laundry. We get to be around people we love and respect. There are only winners in this situation.
Afterall, life should be about living, and not surviving.
I wish you all the best in this new adventure! I am envious. If we could ever get ourselves in a financial place to be able to build an attached apartment, I would do it in a heartbeat. Sure, it would be challenging, but it is better than emptiness and worry.
I must admit I am envious. My mother had a major stroke last summer. She is able to live alone safely, but based on the recovery of her eyesight (driving) and cognition a year later, I do not believe this can be a permanent solution for the next many years (She is only 59.) The catch is….for 25 years prior to the stroke, she had been emotionally abusive to every last family member, including (and especially) her children. Untreated mental illness is a very ugly demon. She has mellowed now- as a consequence of the stroke and not as a result of personal responsibility. I am the oldest and most settled child. I struggle immensely with the reality of what it may take to keep her safe and give her a high quality of life, vs my own need to be distant from her and protect myself and my immediate family unit.
S, your comment reminded me of an article I read in Real Simple a few months ago. I’ve linked it because there is a story almost exactly like yours in it. I hope that whatever decision you make with your mother ends up being good for everyone involved. Blessing, Sarah
My parents live with me in the summer and then live on the Baja in Mexico in the winter. Though now they may not both be going back to Mexico as my mom’s cancer had returned. I am just glad that they are under my roof and I am able to take care of them. So I get where you are at with your parents and I get comments from people about how can you stand to have them live with you. I love it and am always sad in the fall when they pack up to head south again. I keep telling my mom, not that she is sick I can hold her captive and she can’t leave. 😉 Not that I want her sick but you get it, right?
That sounds like a great solution. I totally get what you mean by the holding captive. I pray your mother’s health improves, but that she still is smart enough to stay with you!