My apologies loyal readers as an epic battle Tuesday with some very tenacious wallpaper lulled my brain into continuously looping the Jeopardy Final Answer music; crippling it and leaving it unable to pursue serious pondering. Fortunately my equally determined son, armed with an industrial strength wallpaper steamer and thirty fewer years of excess baggage joined me in battle; and sustained by moral support from the lovely Ms. D and equally lovely daughter-in-law E who also rounded up copious quantities of pizza and breadsticks, we triumphed over the paper monster.
Yesterday’s activities were just another reminder of how fortunate D and I are to have some of our immediate family close by (and how much we miss those who aren’t). Cleaning and renovating Mom-in-Law’s condo is a daunting enough task, and having some help certainly eases the burden. It also helps to have your children empathize with you and appreciate the mental strain you are going through in trying to whittle away everything but the essentials of the estate of someone still with us.
We worry constantly about how much to do to MIL’s primary residence even though we know she’ll not be returning; trying to guess at what will upset her and what she’ll be OK with. Sure we ask her opinion, communicate with her about each step we take and try to make sure she’s OK with it, but often she’ll bring it up again with a whole different perspective when we’ve already taken action. Frustrating…
With our Son and DIL as caretakers, they’re very sensitive to what Grandma would want, so their sensitivity will be very comforting when they take temporary custody of Grandma’s place. Ultimately she seems OK with all of the choices, but it is still her home and it will be for as long as she’s with us. Sandwich living can really be a bear sometimes! But we’re all family, and this is the way things are.
My Son and I got into a good discussion about the big picture of family this week. Years ago the “family” might have property in the city, in the country and at the shore; of course some wealthy families still do. His perspective on property is a little different than that of other young people today as he sees his Grandma’s property as something he has as much responsibility for as his grandma and his parents. It’s a bigger picture of what the family has and what the family is, kind of a multigenerational living philosophy applied to more than just happening to reside in the same building. In fact S emphasized that it’s not really the property, or even multiple properties, but a sense of place; it wouldn’t matter where the property was actually located. Hey S, hope I got that right.
I could see that S gets what I was talking about a few posts back; that this conversation was as much about roots as it was property and generations living together. It led me back to the reunion this past summer and how I felt knowing my family’s history and that I had many more connections than I ever imagined before. Using a flora and fauna analogy I think people really need both roots and wings. We expect our children to fly, to become independent, to grow and live successful lives on their own and with their chosen mates.
But with wings come flocks and migration and breeding grounds; those sound a lot like roots to me. Yes I suppose a few of us are raptors (eagles, hawks, falcons for you non-birders) and lead a semi-solitary life. But it was pretty obvious to me that S appreciated having roots as well. And when you have roots you nurture and care for them as much you do those who have taken wing and flown.
Wow, rereading this post I realize yesterday’s battle must have scrambled my brain, this post is all over the place and not very cohesive. Well hopefully it still provides some food for thought.
Meanwhile I’m recuperating from my battle wounds, tending the roots, and preserving a home base for those who have sprouted wings (and, I suppose you could say, flown the coop!)…Pops