As I look out of my living room window, I think about my neighbors. I don't know anyone in my area who has invited an aging parent to live at home, together with children and grandchildren. But could this trend of isolating ourselves from our elders be slowly changing? I'm hearing more and more of my contemporaries worry aloud about the unpleasantness of a future being warehoused with legions of other baby boomers. People my age are beginning to actively plan co-habiting with groups of friends, living in hotels (if they can afford it) or living in households with multiple generations. The picture of families caring for each other is changing.
So, I jumped at the chance when an online colleague approached me for the opportunity to write a guest post about wanting her own mother to come and live with her family at some point in the future when care requirements became more than just delivering the occasional casserole. I wondered what reasons younger families have today for inviting their parents to share their home.
My guest blogger is Noami Esterly. Naomi divides her time between managing a house of three boys (her husband and two kids) and a newborn baby girl, volunteering in her community center and writing freelance for 1800Wheelchair.Com. In her guest post below she shares an open letter to her mom.
Thank you, Naomi, for sharing the love you feel for (and learned from) your Mom.
An Open Letter To My Mom
You are the one who has always been there for me. You nurtured me when I was a baby, guided me when I was a child, and, now that I am a grown woman, you are my friend. You taught me how to love, and I can think of no better role model from whom to pattern my own motherhood. Even though I realize that I do not say it enough, I love you, and I appreciate all that you have done for me more than you will ever know.
I know that in my busy schedule we have grown farther apart than I would like. I miss you very much, and I promise to set aside more time for mother-daughter bonding as well as quality time with your grandchildren. You have fashioned me into the woman I am today, and I would love for you to watch my three beautiful children grow with the guidance you have instilled in me.
For all of your patience, friendship, and love throughout my entire life, I am forever in your debt. Now that I have a family of my own, I want you to be a part of it, and I want to be there for you always as you have always cared for me. Therefore, I would like you to consider coming to live with my family should you ever need assistance. It would be a wonderful way for you to bond with your grandchildren, and they, in turn, would grow up with the fortune of having known their beloved grandmother so well. When they are off to school for the day, you and I could go for walks, shop, go to museums, cook and bake together, or anything else we can imagine. Should you ever need mobility assistance, I would be there for you to take you anywhere you want to go. I could push you in a wheelchair so that you do not miss out on anything that you would like to see or to do.
I would take wonderful care of you, mom, because you showed me how to do so when you raised me. Once my children are grown and out of the house, we would still have so much fun together. You would also be able to watch your grandchildren closely as they graduate from college, marry, have babies of their own, and succeed at various accomplishments that would make us both proud. I believe that we should spend more time together as a family, and living with us would provide for the best opportunity to do so. I never want you to feel as though you are helpless or unable to live the life you desire. I want to be there for you whether you need me or not, because I love you.
Please do not fear that I feel obligated to spend more time with you or take care of you should the need arise. Because of you, I have never known life without love. You are my mother, and nothing would bring me greater joy than to reciprocate that love and care. I love you, mom.