Changes

We just put in a bid on a small homestead. It’s a little over seven acres with a small yellow bungalow, and a large free standing garage just waiting to be converted into an apartment for my parents. It’s adorable. The main house was built in 1938, and it needs serious updating,but should be darling once the work has been done. The land has tons of outbuildings and cleared areas on it already. It even has established grape vines, apple, and pecan trees. To say I’m excited is an understatement.

Most people just notices one thing in the above paragraph. The fact that my parents will be living with us. Yes, we’re moving in WITH MY PARENTS! I won’t lie; I’m nervous…. I’m nervous about a lot of things. Money for one. This property won’t be cheap, and while we’re secure financially, it’s still scary. I’m also terrified we won’t sell our current house. Mostly though it’s the prospect of sharing a home that scares me. We will likely all be sharing a roughly 1500 square foot home until the apartment remodel is finished. That thought is terrifying. I love my parents a great deal, but I’ve not lived with them for nearly ten years. My mom and I spent a fair amount of time while I was in high school arguing about the best way to fold towels. Then there is the baby. My parents try very hard to stay out of our parenting, but I think they will struggle if we are all in the same space on the daily bases. Anyone would.

i think that the hardest thing to come to terms with as my parents age is adjusting to a role as caregiver. At the moment they are self sufficient. We help as needed moving heavy boxes or running errands in bad weather, but they take care of all their daily needs. My father even works part time. However, I do occasionally have glimpses into what the future likely holds for us. Mom had brain surgery several months ago, and the recover from that took quiet a bit of time. She required more direct care. Dad’s recent stroke was similar. They have both mended very well, and in fact mom’s surgery has greatly increased her functioning. These ongoing health issues are the reason that we’re moving. We want everything in place before they need it.Dad’s recent stroke really scared all of us. We had up until that point thought that mom would be the one that would need the majority of the caregiving when the time came since she struggles with Parkinson’s.  However, the deep brain implant has improved her functioning so much that they seem to be about at the same level right now. It’s funny to watch them together because they both worry so much over each other.

Other than those natural worries, I’m really excited about the prospect. Our family gets along very well, and I like the idea of living with multiple generations in one place. It’s how most of our ancestors did things. My husband  loves his my parents to the point that I think he may worry about them more than I do in some ways. It will be great for my two year old son to be so near Grand and Pops, and it will ease my worry about them needing help if something happens. I’m looking forward to Sunday dinners after church, and snapping green beans with my mom to put in the canner later. I think that the older we all get the more I realize how important it is to spend the time you have with the people you love the most.

Funnily, I think the most surprising thing I’ve discovered so far is how many negative reactions this plan gets. Don’t get me wrong; lots of people are very supportive and understand the reasoning, but I’ve had way more than one person say that they could NEVER live with their parents, or tell me that I’m crazy, or suggest in home care when the time comes. It actually makes me thankful that our family has the type of relationship that doesn’t make this idea seem insane.  I know that if the roles were reversed that my family would be there for me no matter what, and I intend to do the same for them.

Is anyone else out there in a similar situation? Do you have any tips for making it work? How about other homesteaders. What were your biggest challenges your first year establishing a working homestead?

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