Tree Meeting by Cole ScottOur new life begins in the home of my mother in law. She's 83 years old, still recovering from the death, last year, of her ex husband and housemate of sixty years. She is a tippler who self medicates. She doesn't handle change well. Of course, who at 83 handles change "well"? The reasons for our moving in with her were many: she has a rambling old farm house with an upstairs living space, she's not in good health, the house needs upkeep and it seems to make financial sense for all concerned. She can use the extra money and we can save some money. I am convinced that multi-generational living arrangements are making a comeback. There are many reasons, not least of which is the current recession; but there is also a real need for care and protection of aging parents. This is an idea we kicked around for several years. When we finally put our house on the market and it sold in one day and we had five weeks to move, well, it became an immediate realty.
Adjusting to our new living arrangement is the hardest part. My MIL is set in her ways and very stubborn. While she embraces the idea of our living with her, she resents the invasion of her space. We find ourselves walking on tiptoe around her, never quite sure of her mood for the day. My father was the same way. He did not like any deviation from his routine and could get cranky at the drop of a hat. The cliches of old people are all true: they have to eat early, they drive like crap, they keep the heat turned up to unbearable levels and they don't like change. Eating, sleeping and regularity are their primary concern, not necessarily in that order. My husband and I wonder if we'll be like that when we're their age. OMG, I hope not.
My younger son is living with us for the time being. He has his own room, three squares and a new job. He's content for now although he's making plans to move out in six months. He patiently deals with his grandmother's moodiness. His brother is home for Christmas and, together, they make her laugh and keep her entertained. Their energy and joy are infectious.
As for my husband and I, we're giving this a three month test. We'd like it to work because she can't really stay in the house alone much longer. It's not practical nor safe. But, everyone has to make it work. So, fingers crossed.