When we moved from Montana to Utah we helped our daughter purchase her first home. We lived in that home with her for a while. Then she married, and we moved two blocks away. Not long after that Maggie, our granddaughter with CP, was born.
After a few years, Jodie’s family needed a more handicapped-accessible home, and voila, we were eight people in a smallish 3-bedroom apartment. This was a precursor to living with them, in a three-generation home, which was a precursor to living in a four-generation home when we added my mom. From this article, you will know that when we made these life-altering decisions, we didn’t do it blindly. LOL
Tonight, I cooked dinner with a baby riding on my hip and a three-year-old helping me brown onions and hamburger on the stove for “jelly” sauce (spaghetti sauce). It was a bit cumbersome trying to keep three-year-old Mary out of harm’s way while allowing her to help and carrying Ben, who was grabbing for everything he could reach from my hip.
I did all this while trying not to step on anything that would send me crashing to the floor, seeing that the almost one-year-old Ben had emptied the utensil drawer, the reason he was now riding on my hip. LOL
I could hear Jack, the four-year-old making lots of noise from the living room, so Ben, Mary, and I went to see what was up. He was running his trucks through the maze laid out in a random pattern on practically every square inch of the living room floor. All’s well here, back to the “jelly” sauce.
Meanwhile, the six-year-old was yelling for help with her iPad. Maggie has cerebral palsy and has a way of letting us all know when her iPad is not cooperating with her limited hand movement. Right now, she was letting me know…loudly.
“Jelly” sauce simmering, noodles boiling, and Mary slopping melted garlic butter on a tower of French bread. I heard her say, oops, never a good sign. Seems as if some of the garlic butter has found its way down her chest and onto the fabric-covered chairs. No problem, just mixing with the strawberry ice cream drops from the night before.
I pop the garlic bread into the oven to broil and head to the sink to drain the noodles. Ben is trying to crawl up my leg and I notice the sink is full of cups. I set the strainer on the cups. It will be ok as they aren’t washed yet. I dump the noodles. The cups are not stable, and the strainer tips. I grab HOT noodles as many slide down the drain. Then I smell scorched bread. Our garlic toast is going to be a bit crisper and darker than I had planned.
I holler to Jack, “Go tell Grandpa that grandma needs him…NOW!” I am 63 with a 64-year-old husband and three years ago our youngest child got married and left home. This was after 39 years of in-house parenting.
So how did I get into this predicament?
My daughter and son-in-law and four grandchildren have come to live for a while, a few weeks, or months, while their home sells and another comes into their lives. It makes for tight quarters in our three-bedroom apartment.
Frankly, the last few days have been a lot like raising our seven children in our 100-year-old home in Small Town Montana, chaos, noise, mess, spills, crying, laughing, fun, not so fun….
I am reminded that it isn’t easy being a parent. Life isn’t what we thought it would be when we married and started having kids. It has been quite a bit more challenging and messier than we anticipated…a bit like the last few days.
But oh, my goodness, it has
been worth it!!!
P.S. Over a decade has passed since this article was written. It hasn’t gotten easier BUT it is more than worth it!!