When evaluating any “big decision” in life, you always need to have a “why”. And, to be successful, many business “coaches” will tell you your why needs to make you cry. Well, here’s our why behind why we flipped our normal lives upside down and took on a new kid, just one that was 81..
Five years ago if you had asked me if I would consider grandmother moving in, I would have said NEVER. Two years ago, I would have said I doubt it, a year ago I would have said maybe someday. Then, we said, it’s time. And, our “why” still doesn’t always make sense. But, it’s all we have for now….
Several people have asked me why Jeff and I are doing this. Well, my why would probably take days, or weeks to fully explain. And, honestly it changes daily, but without preaching a sermon to you, here are the basics:
1)It’s Biblical. James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” My grandmother is a widow. She depended on him for her survival, she is currently in distress.
2)I love her because of how she first loved me. If there was ever a manual on how Grandparents should do life, my grandparents could have written it. They lived near by us growing up, and were a constant support (read… spoilers) in my life. My grandmother didn’t get her driver’s licenses until she was 56, after my grandfather passed away. Why would she bother at that point? To help take care of me….. She drove me to school every day until I got my licenses because it was not cool to ride the bus in high school….
3)It’s just how we do business around here. If your grandma needed a place to stay and someone to help take care of her, we’d probably take her in too. Jeff and I were raised to take care of our own. And, considering his dad is older than my grandmother, and his mom isn’t too far behind her; it is quiet possible that they will live with us too. Maybe, at the same time my grandma is here. Now, wouldn’t that be entertaining. I can kinda see it now.
4)It’s just practical, and our only real option right now. Grandmother draws $1100 a month in social security as her only income. Her insurance and medicines run over $500 a month. Do the math, there isn’t much left for living expenses. I was having to supplement her income monthly. I certainly didn’t mind that. But, it seemed kinda pointless. And, she has dementia and heart issues, so she really doesn’t need to live on her own anymore. Yes, I checked out nursing homes of varying degrees. What I found is that on average, they are $2500 a month for rent, plus around $125 a day for the nursing care she would need. Do the math, that is at least $6000 a month. (Hear me say this loudly- invest in Long Term Care Insurance!!!) Based on our annual income, we could in fact make that work. However, my income is totally commission based, and we don’t feel comfortable making that commitment on an income that isn’t guaranteed.
5)It is really good for my kids. Yes, I am praying like the dickens that they don’t witness her actual death. I watched my mom die just over 15 months ago. And, I am not afraid to admit that I am still on medication due to the PTSD that created. It’s horrifying! But, it’s also life. Life is HARD, sometimes life just sucks. The sooner my kids realize that life isn’t easy breezy, and sometimes we do uncomfortable things, the better off they are going to be. And, I know first hand what a blessing it is to have your Great Grandparents in your life. My kids haven’t had that due to the distance between us. Now, they have it daily. And, it’s good.
6)Jeff pretty much had to tell me it was time, and it would be okay. I was willing to push the limit on this. As soon as mom died, we knew the day would come. But, honestly, I probably would have preferred that day be later than sooner. But, Jeff was my rock. And, the day I broke down in tears saying we had to do it; he just said, I am ready. I’ve been waiting on you.
7)We love crazy, busy, chaos. And, ask any parent of 3 kids. It’s chaos. Just because she is 81, doesn’t mean it isn’t like having a child. It is just like having a toddler…. she has potty accidents, she has to be told the same thing 100 times, she complains about my food choices, and I love her anyways.
We all have to say a prayer and do what we think is best. For our family, for this day, this is what is best. Tomorrow is a new day and a new prayer……