23 November 2010

Ma and Pa are moving house

Here at Shack on the Edge (that's the name I just made up for our primary residence - it's on the edge of town and has us on the edge of sanity) we're preparing for a pretty big life event come spring. My parents are going to be putting up a house on our property and moving in. I guess it would be more correct to say they are having a house delivered. We're applying for a zoning change that allows for a garden suite for elderly or disabled family members. None of us, least of all my parents, considers them to be elderly or disabled but this works for our purposes - and they do qualify for seniors' discounts.

So in April or May a couple of big trucks will arrive and drop their house onto its spot. A few hours later, the house will be bolted together, connected to power, water and septic and ready to move into. And then my parents, who I have spent most of the last 27 years living quite far away from, will be living a stone's throw from my back door. Surprisingly, or maybe not, some family members seem quite skeptical that this arrangement will work out. Friends, on the other hand, have been nothing but supportive of the idea.

The idea is that we share the benefits of living on our land and support each other physically and mentally in our various projects. We'll each have on site pet sitting and plant watering when we're away. Madeleine will have regular access to her grandparents and we'll have an extra set of loving eyes to watch over her as she goes through her teens. We do anticipate that as my parents age we will be providing more support but I would like to think that it will be a much more seamless transition if we have already been living somewhat interdependently than if they were still living five hours drive away.

The trouble with life is that you can't see how the future is going to play out. We don't know if either or both of my parents will be living well and independently for 5 or 30 years, or for that matter, whether we will both be living healthy independent lives for that long. What if someone dies and their partner remarries? It's a challenging thing to throw in your lot with your spouse, let alone your parents or in-laws or kids, but so much of life is random and unpredictable, there's not anything to do but take the leap and trust that everyone is well intentioned and the twists and turns can be navigated.

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