I've written about a small part of that journey with Mom -- in reality a very small segment of about four years of the more than forty we lived together moving as my husband moved up the corporate ladder and then when he chose to "go out on his own with his own business" -- when an abuser came into our lives.
It's not a "new idea" -- it's been practiced for centuries among many cultures and it's been highly successful--multiple generational living under one roof.
What changed this practice for the Western World?
Some say it was industrialization -- moving from rural to city areas and then to the suburbs.
Some say the houses were "smaller" ---yet many "made do" in small apartments in the city with multi-generations; not everyone has had or has a home in the US and doesn't in other countries.
When did we start not being "neighbors", "family" and "friends in need"?
Yes, there are adjustments, concessions and even learning a "new way" to live with another person -- just like "living together" w/wo a legal agreement or document.
It's also like bringing home the first child and each child added -- it's a family, a growing and changing dynamic --where adjustments and considerations are a part of everyday life.
Think about how beneficial it is to have another person in your life
.... .someone to share time and experiences with everyday.
.... someone who is "there for you".
.... someone who gains and someone who gives
It's a different kind of "life" and "living" -- less for the self and more for others.
It's like adoption. You bring in a child or young person to your home, the family unit you have only this is an "adult".
There are differences, admittedly.... depending on the age of the child, usually the "family living together unit" is for fewer years...the "child" grows up, gains abilities, can share in the responsibilities of family life
THE ADULT joining the family grows older....usually experiences more "need" for physical or mental challenges.... has decreasing abilities and often special needs
We chose to have "an extended family under one roof", to provide for others in need who added to the whole of the family unit.
My In-Laws youngest son had Down's Syndrome. It was the early 1950s. They were told to "instutionalize" him. They were advised not to "take him outside the home".They chose to include Tom as a part of their family.
He was an active part of their lives. He went where they went. He was given an education (they worked to get Special Schooling and programs started).
Listen to your heart. Do what you believe is best for yourself and those you love.
Statements you may hear others say:
We should be able to take care of ourselves...all our lives
If you save enough..
If you're careful....
If you plan right...
You won't need to "impose" on anyone; you can afford to live SOMEWHERE ELSE....
Some can. Many can't. Especially as the years go by.
We've redefined the family in the past several years.
We've redefined relationships.
We've redefined so many areas of life but we still have a "hang up" when it comes to multi generational living.
MULTIGENERATIONAL LIVING....this is the life we shared....this is the life we made together... this is the life we chose...and I am grateful every day we worked to make it a life worth living for each of us..
A relationship that enabled and gave value and opportunities to each family member.
A lifetime of caring, sharing and supporting one another through challenges & times of great joy.
Learning from one another and about ourselves.
We told Mom...who'd lived alone when I went away to college and since I was married, who worked and had her own apartment....when we learned she'd broken her wrist ...
It's a choice we all make each day and you can choose to leave at any time. We will always be there for you whenever and wherever we're needed.
That was November, 1971 and in November, 2010 the manipulation and control of an abuser who came into our lives could not, in the end, separate our multi generational family.
We, each family member, are who we are today because we opened our minds, our hearts and our home(s) to share a life we treasure now as we did when it was being created.