Last fall my mother moved in with us. She had fallen at her house while ill and dehydrated and could not get up. Thanks be to God she had the presence of mind to push the medic alert button which she always wears around her neck, and the paramedics came and took her to the ER. They called both Jay and I right away, so I was with her at the hospital during her rehydration until she was stable enough to leave. I spent that night by her bedside asking God what to do.
It was very clear to me that she should no longer be living by herself. Luckily, I chose a wonderful husband 20 years ago who totally agreed and encouraged the move. Just as wonderful, after that scare, my fiercely independent mom readily agreed and we began the process right away.
Needless to say, we had to juggle a few things around the make this work. First, we had to move Lindsey out of her downstairs suite where she was quite comfortable, slightly separated from the family and with her own bathroom. Fortunately, she understood and the disruption was minimal.
We have a large house with 5 real bedrooms and we have also converted the "media room" and the "loft" into bedrooms. Given that we have that much space, I think it is important that my oldest four children (ages almost 12 to almost 17) have their own rooms. The three smaller ones have to make do until the older ones move out.
Next dilemma: The three youngest are two girls and a boy, ages 6, 8 and 9 respectively. We had only one room left for the three of them, so what to do? It turns out that we had a master closet the size of a bedroom that was mostly wasted space for us. With a little organizing and a little more purging I was able to move my half of the closet into a nook in the bedroom where Jay was formerly working. We moved some furniture around and, voila! Jay has a workspace that he is very happy with, I have a closet that I have to keep very neat since it is in plain view (which is really good for me) and Tony has a space of his own. I only wish it had a window, but he doesn't really spend that much time in there anyway.
We have had to plan things a little in terms of changing and showering since the bathroom is in the middle, but so far it is going quite well and he is quite respectful of our privacy. He is happy to have his own space (although at one time he had his own room, he was quite generous in welcoming grandma and is content to wait until another room opens up). His bed, dresser, toys and trophies are all there and that walls are decorated with his favorite things. So, no "in the closet" jokes, OK?
Anyway, I got a little sidetracked there because the point of this post was to talk about what a blessing it is to have my mom living with us. She gets to spend lots of time with the kids and helps me with pick ups and drop offs. She accomplished the amazing task of taking her 3 bedroom 2 bath house with garage down to a single, albeit large, room and one bathroom. Some things were hard to part with but I think she is happy with her new, condensed lifestyle. She doesn't have to worry anymore about much of anything. She joins us for dinner every night, we know when she is feeling poorly, and we are much better equipped to help her now. Plus, she brings some of the joy of my childhood into the house and I love to see her playing games with the kids the way she did with me when I was a child.
I know that for many people this would be a difficult situation. With tensions common among in-laws and even within families I am well aware of how fortunate we are to have her and for everyone to be happy about it! She and Jay have gotten to know each other better and I am very happy for her to know what a great husband I have.
Her house is almost ready to rent. We just replaced flooring where needed and have a few other little things left to do. Please pray that we secure good, respectful people who will treat the house well. Thank you!