There are three things in life I know for sure-- Death, taxes and I can always go home to my Mother's house-- No matter what, no questions asked-- Mom will welcome her children with open arms and we will always have a place to stay for as long as we want or need to. (That's Mom with her oldest grand daughter on the left.)
She started teaching us-- her five children, this important lesson at a very early age. Perhaps it was because, at times, a place to call home wasn't always as secure as she would have liked it to be as a child. Her mother died when she was young and being bounced around a bit too much made making a home for her own family supremely important.
Don't get me wrong, we were absolutely taught to grow up to be self-supporting, independent adults with our own homes but Mom made sure that if life ever threw us a curve ball and we needed a little tender loving care, her light was always on-- literally.
Home is where Mom is and the door is always open. Period.
My siblings and I are remarkably lucky and blessed to have been raised with this knowledge tucked away in our hearts. Some of us have taken Mom up on the offer in our adult lives too, staying a few days or a few years as the case may be.
Her home for the past nearly 20 years has been with her beloved Dave, our step-father, who has the very same attitude and open door policy with his five children. Sometimes their house is a little crowded but none of their children have ever been turned away and there is always enough love and support to go around.
I've told you about their house HERE and the meaningful 40+ year history it has in our family--
The outside is neat and tidy with the pink dogwood tree in glorious bloom every Spring for as long as I can remember.
But the inside-- Let's just say the inside had a protective layer of dust holding it together and my folks had absolutely no problem with that whatsoever. They knew where everything was and eventually all the clutter, nic-nacks and stuff got moved and dusted, just not necessarily on a regular basis.
As signs of the aging process took hold of our folks a few years back, we arranged for a weekly housekeeper to help with the cleaning and surprisingly, Mom didn't argue about it one bit.
This past winter was the first year in dear Dave's life that someone else shoveled his driveway and sidewalks. And this summer is the first year his lawn mover was retired to a landscaping service to handle the weekly chore. He, on the other hand, is not happy about it but, at age 86, we think the guy deserves a break and his doctors do as well to insure he doesn't break anything if you catch my drift.
It's been a rough couple of months for them. In April both my folks were in the hospital-- First Mom, then Dave, and that's when things really took an unexpected turn. Mom came home from the hospital to their big rambling house. Dave went to a rehabilitation facility.
And Dave LOVED it there! In rehab! Swear to gawd!
The rehab center is nestled on a beautiful lake with many of the prescribed activities to strengthen his legs and arms taking place outside in the fresh air. It was like a Senior Citizens Camp with fishing and woodworking and gardening! After a week I actually think Dave was sorry to say good-bye because there were so many fun things for him to do and so much social interaction that, despite his health issues and the need for a cane, he had a spring in his step again.
For at last four years I've been discussing the monumental problem of no downstairs bathroom in their 100+ year old house. The bathroom is 19 very steep stairs away and would be impossible if anything caused them to be immobile, even briefly. None of my siblings, all of whom live within six blocks, have a downstairs shower or tub either. Ahh the joys of owning century old homes and the underlining problems they cause.
Before "downsizing" was part of our vocabulary, Mom and Dave already downsized to this house and had no intention of ever moving again. Then the stairs became a concern but, thanks to mastering denial over the years, our folks turned a blind eye to the potential problem.
The necessity for rehab and physical therapy brought the problem front and center with nowhere to hide.
Thanks to the wildly positive experience Dave had at rehab the often difficult "assisted living" conversation was actually started by none other than Dave himself-- And the even bigger shock was that Mom jumped on it! There was no drama, tears, hard feelings, begging, pleading-- Nothing.
Our folks were ready to move N.O.W.
Oh yes, we are a very happy group of children thanking our lucky stars that this often difficult parental transition is so welcomed by our folks. They'll be moving in late September to a beautiful one story, two bathroom home in an assisted living community that has a continuum of care (translation-- they can't get kicked out if their health turns south) and that will be the very last time they'll ever need to move.
With activities galore, local transportation, extensive health and wellness facilities and skilled nursing all on the rolling hills of its campus, it's really paradise for them. Throw in the fact that several of their friends live there already and it's a whopping half mile from their current home, and well, life is good for one and all.
When my folks and I first toured the facilities in April the same two questions were repeatedly asked and of great concern to them-- 1) "Does the house have extra bedrooms because we have a lot of kids." and 2) "Can bring our dog?".
The answer to both questions was a resounding YES!
So now, when I make my regular trips back home to see family, "home" will be at a new address-- One that still offers all the comfort only a mother can offer. But more importantly, it's a home that ensures comfort and security for our folks as they transition to a place where they will be safe and well cared for-- but still with enough independence to keep them-- and their dog, happy.
Of course I'm a little worried that I'm nearly old enough to be a resident in this Senior's community-- I'll be sure to carry my driver's license with me to prove I'm not quite old enough to move in and just a guest. It kind of gives a whole new meaning to "getting carded". Who knew I'd ever be happy to be "only" 53.
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins