I know I’ve dropped hints here and there about my home life situation. However, I don’t think I’ve ever fully described it. My thoughts were, who really wants to hear about real life? I’m a romance author. I must have this exciting life, and to some degree I do, but for the most part, I’m just like all of you—adjusting to life as I figure out how to take care of family.
Almost five years ago, I moved from Texas to Arkansas to live with my parents. Hubby and I had been living separate lives for a long time. Long story there, but all I’ll say about it is that we grew apart. Sounds cliche, right? Truth is we both had dreams we wanted to pursue. I wanted to be a full-time writer. He wanted to get his dog-training business off the ground. He moved to Virginia, but we keep in touch almost daily. We share in taking care of our grown kids as best we can and help each other out, but the divorce was final this past month, so while we still have this deep friendship that won’t end with a decree, we’re both okay.
Why Arkansas? I was the only “single” sibling of four. I wanted to write full-time, but couldn’t without a little support to get going. My parents’ health is failing and they have this large piece of property and a solid comfortable home. It’s a win-win for us all. I moved, and the daughter I left in San Antonio decided to follow just a few months later. What can I say? I’m a good mother and she couldn’t stand being so far from me. We love each other to death. She doesn’t want to live with me, has married, and thankfully, her hubby loves me too. So all is copacetic!
Then last year, another family emergency prompted our home to fill a little more. My grandfather passed away. My grandmother could no longer live on her own. But she wouldn’t move without my aunt coming too. So now we have grandma, the aunt, my parents and myself, all living under the same roof. Thank goodness it’s a large house, but we are still working out the kinks of our relationships because we are all different people. Straight and amibiguous. Atheists, agnostics, “lite” Christians, and my wierd flavor of the month religion (I have Buddhas, pagan altars, Norse and Catholic statuary blended in my rooms). We’re Democrats and Republicans. Animal lovers and NOT. We struggle every day to make it work.
And while everyone right this moment is able to take care of him or herself, the day will come, very soon, when that will change. I’m going to be the major caregiver. I’m prepared for that. Or have been preparing for that. Last week the Red-Headed Hellion and her family moved into the house across the street that I bought so that she will be close by to help out.
I’m very much that “sandwich” generation everyone talks about. I have my life outside this family. My friends. My own interests, but I’m also very integral to this family—and sandwiched between the elderly members and the younger members. Both sides of that sandwich need very different kinds of help. I don’t mind one bit. It’s what families should do for their own, when they can.
So what flavor sandwich does that make me? Am I the bologna and cheese? Or the PBJ filling? Hearty and cheesy or gooey and sticky? Are any of you out there facing the same situation, either in the future or right now? I’d love to hear how you make it work or what you’re doing to plan for it.
Now you know more about me than you might want to. Exciting news from here in the looney bin is that the pool is warm enough for swimming! I gasped through a thirty minute swim yesterday! Woot!