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Gigipotamus: It Takes a Village

on March 14 | in Our Family | by | with 11 Comments

In our culture, it seems you just don’t live with your relatives unless there’s no other option, and you have to look long and hard to find another option before you get a pass. So why has our family embraced such an unfashionable lifestyle? What do I get out of selling my house and giving up my independence to live with my kids? Good question! A BIG part of the answer has to do with Katie, but I’ll save that for another post.

Three Generations

I raised my girls as a single mom from the time they were two and four until they were in junior high. At that time my mom, “Ghi,” moved in with us. Although her health was failing, we were able to enjoy the richness of having three generations under one roof for several years before she died. Ghi was a warm, delightful, lovable woman and we relished having all that “together time” with her in her sunset years. My girls adored her. Some of our favorite stories come from the funny things she did when living with us. We laugh till we cry (or cross our legs if you know what I mean!!!) That blending of three generations sparked the vision for what we are doing today. The memories we have from Merrill Drive give us the confidence to stick with the path we’ve chosen.

Home Again

I grew up on two acres on the (then) outskirts of Haltom City. We had horses growing up and enjoyed a sort of quasi-rural life. Heather loves the story about the year I got sick with pneumonia . I missed my shetland pony, Ginger, so much my mom actually brought him into the house to visit me! Although that would have been a good enough story on it’s own, it really snowballed when the horse decided he liked being in the house  It wasn’t long before he learned how to push on the poorly aligned French doors until they opened and he just walked in like he owned the place. We weren’t home the first time Ginger decided to tour the house alone. But when we returned we were shocked to find  the peanut  butter jar on the kitchen floor, opened, along with a broken jar of jelly topped  with what was left of a loaf of bread. Apparently Ginger found his “peanut butter and jelly sandwich” pleasing to his palate because we found remnants throughout the house including in my bed, where we joked he must have napped  following  his satisfying meal. Sounds right out of Goldilocks, doesn’t it!?! His illegal entrance became such a problem eventually we had to add locks to the door to keep him out.

I never adapted well to the confinement of a “city block.” I yearn to return a small chunk of land where we can grow organic fruits and veggies, gather eggs from the henhouse, and drink fresh milk from our own goats. I want to walk my property – and I want it to take more than three minutes! Only by combining resources with Daniel and Heather could any of us afford to purchase a little piece of “heaven on earth.” Only together can we realize our dream. We believe it is God-breathed and will have to be God-delivered, because we are totally incapable of getting this done on our own!

Sharing the Load

Here’s another benefit:

What mother with young children is not exhausted? Come on, name one! As a single parent, I experienced the exhaustion of trying to “do it all” and was frequently overwhelmed by carrying the parenting torch solo. Although I am deeply comforted by the fact that both of my daughters are married to men that are good father and good providers, it’s still a BIG JOB. Two parents are definitely better than one. But let’s be honest, it can be overwhelming.

One of my motivations to join the Dessinger family was to help share the workload. Heather cooks, I clean up the kitchen. I watch Katie on Saturday or Sunday afternoon (sometimes both) so Daniel and Heather have time to connect.  Although this may not seem like a benefit for me, it really is.

I have the joy of knowing that my contribution makes a difference.

That’s my payoff, and it’s enough.

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11 Responses to Gigipotamus: It Takes a Village

  1. i love this about your family! makes me really wish my mom lived closer. oh and that’s a beautiful picture of you and katie!
    .-= Joanna Moore´s last blog ..Thankful Thursday =-.

    • Gigipotamus says:

      Thanks, Joanna. I wish you’re mom lived closer too. It is such a joy to be When I bump up against something that doesn’t seem Practical (and I am sooooo practica), sometimes I just say to God “I don’t see any way you could accomplish this, but I’m just letting you know what I’d like. And if there’s any way you could bring it about, I’d really appreciate it! And I leave it at that.

      • Gigipotamus says:

        For some reason part of my reply to you, Joanna, was eliminated so here’s the rest of it. It is such a joy to have family close by. If your mom would like to be closer, you might want to talk to God about this. And then the next sentence begins “when I bump….

  2. Melanie Buck says:

    I loved reading this and I love you. I can’t begin to tell you how fondly Richard and I talk of you and it always ends with “I wish we had a Gigi”.

    • Gigipotamus says:

      Oooooh, you are so sweet! I think you and Richard are so very special myself. And if I could just clone myself you’d be the first person I’d give “myself” to…..because I’d love to be a part of your family! Instead, when we get our new place, we expect to be able to spend more time with friends like you….and at least, for a few hours, I’ll be your very own “Gigi.” How’s that?

  3. Des says:

    Gigi’s are fantastic! (my mom is called Gigi too) AND she lives with us as well as Poppy and Uncle Preston – and soon to be Aunt, Uncle and Cousins! So every time you start to think you’re crazy for living all under one roof, think of us. We make your crazy look sane! :) I’m sure you know, but as a mom to little ones it seriously is SUCH a blessing to have the extra hands around, but more so to know that my mother is pouring wisdom, love and affirmation into my daughter on a daily basis. They have a routine where my daughter wakes up and immediately goes downstairs to where my mom is inevitably having her quiet time and they sit and talk and my mom makes her breakfast. This gives me an extra hour or so of sleep since my son wakes up later and also gives them great time together. I am so happy for Katie’s sake that you are in her life on a daily basis. She will be enriched because of it. I truly feel that family was created to be ACTIVELY involved and a part of each other’s lives. Not on the fringe. Not everyone can or wants to live together and I totally understand that, but I’m telling you, when everyone is in full agreement, the benefits FAR outweigh the challenges. All that to say, I applaud you guys!
    .-= Des´s last blog ..Out of It =-.

    • Heather says:

      Destiny, you captured perfectly how we feel about having Gigi around. She radiates warmth and love when Katie walks in the room. She’s an extra pair of hands, an on-the-spot babysitter for an impromptu date. Best of all, she’s my mom and I love having her around.

  4. Kristine says:

    I didn’t realize that Ginger made her own peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That is so funny! I admire you for taking such good care of your mom as well as your girls. I’m trying to enjoy the time I have left caring for Grandma. I feel really inadequate most of the time (and want to pull my hair out on a daily basis), but I know God is teaching me a lot, too.

  5. Gigipotamus says:

    Destiny, so well said! I sense that God is up to something with this intergenerational living and we may be seeing the beginning of more to come. And you’re right, compared to you guys we don’t look so far “out there!” Forerunners indeed! So I double applaud you! I’ve always loved your family and the warmth and embracing of others that characterize you. It will be fun following each others journey.

  6. Jerri says:

    From one Gigi to another, I totally understand where you’re coming from. What better way to invest in the next generation than by living with your grandchildren? It is a gift, and I’m grateful! Life is such a journey!

    • Gigipotamus says:

      Oh, I so agree Jerri! Katie and Conner (my grandbabies) are my delight. Though I don’t get to see Conner very often because Karen lives in Abilene, it is always a special time when they are in town and I get to babysit. Being with Katie on a daily basis is so much fun. Often, she will stick her head in my room in the morning when I’m spending time in prayer, look at me as I sit up in the bed reading, and ask me “are you awake?” Does she think I sleep like that!

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