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.
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.
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.