On October 23rd, my son and his bride purchased a beautiful (and extremely large) new home that created a chain of events that will change our family dynamics forever. My husband and I, along with my ninety-two year old mother, have all moved into this home over the past few weeks.
Our kids bought this large of a house with the intention that they wanted space where my husband and I could live when we were ready to give up our home. In all honesty, we were not thinking we were going to move out of our home and move in to this new home immediately, but one day I had a strong realization… the realization that I did not want us to be burdened with two homes. This feeling was so strong for me that it pushed me forward to have some deep conversations with my family, asking them to support selling our bigger home and moving in with the kids.
This coming Friday, we will close the chapter of owning our home in the city when we sign the final papers and the new owners will take the keys and begin their new chapter in their lives as new home owners. I am thrilled that this young family will be able to have a beautiful home with plenty of yard space and a great locale to parks and schools, as they raise their two young boys.
I have to admit that moving three generations into one home all at the same time has been challenging at best. Three weeks later and we are still unpacking boxes and trying to figure out how to merge our households together. We have seen our share of frustration, anger, sadness, and stress within all of us at one time or another. It seems as if our moving boxes multiply like rabbits – as we get a few unpacked and broken down, more show up to be unpacked. It has felt like we take one step forward and a dozen steps back at times.
However, when the times get rough, all I have to do is look out of the back door of our living space. We have a beautiful woodland ravine that gives me a view of nature at its best. The wise old trees remind me to keep rooted and allow myself to sway to the winds of change versus feeling like I am toppling over in stress. I only have to take a few steps out of my patio door and I can sit by the mini waterfall and listen to the music of the water as it cascades down the rocks.
I have learned to practice what I teach… to breathe in slowly and remove myself mentally from the stress. I have allowed myself to release the emotions through my tears when I am feeling overwhelmed. I have given myself the okay to be vulnerable during this incredible life change and I remind myself that this is exactly what I have been looking for in our lives – Freedom and being unencumbered.
I know that this journey will have some interesting twists and turns along the way and I hope to share some of those that I feel will help others possibly find some humor and insight through our experiences as a multi-generational household.
A few things I have learned these past few weeks:
- Take care of the elderly first. My goal was to get my ninety-two year old mom settled in her mother-in-law suite first because any type of change for her is very disconcerting. We had mom moved in and settled into her space (which includes a bedroom, bath and sitting room) so she could retreat away from the chaos that was occurring in the rest of the house.
- Do not try to carry loads down outside steps in the dark because if you do, you may fall into the waterfall and pond. Both my husband and I lost our footing at separate times trying to maneuver down steps in the evening. Neither of us got hurt badly (except for my ego and 39 of my books that I had for sale). Trying to do too much all at once is really not the best practice.
- Moving is great exercise! I have been averaging 4 – 4.5 miles a day on my Garmin Vivofit device. Most of those miles are going up and down stairs carrying a load which has helped me lose a few unwanted pounds!
I need to cut this blog post short because I have just been surrounded by three of the four dogs who have also been included in this move and all are vying for attention! Yes, we have combined two household of dogs too and added in some fish from the pond into the aquarium for the winter… life has become a menagerie around here!
If you have any experience in this multi-generational living gig, please share your thoughts here! I would love to hear how it is going for everyone else and hopefully get a few pointers from my readers!