Mom is returning home today after three weeks of staying with us. Over the last few years we have had a few discussions on where she should live. Should she move in with us, stay in our family home or downsize, but stay in the Chicago area. These discussions are not easy, mostly because change is not easy. She has lived in the same home for almost 40 years. Moving anywhere, even just a few streets over, let alone almost 1000 miles, would be a difficult change for her. In order to better understand, I try and put myself in her shoes. Yet that doesn’t help, because I can’t seem to fit in her shoes.
See I have moved seven times in my life compared to her I think four. And I believe two of her moves were just streets away. Her biggest move was our family move to Lansing from Chicago, 17.2 miles. My biggest move was over water and to a Spanish speaking Island! And three other moves were further than 500 miles! Moving has not been a big deal for me. In fact, I find it exciting and stimulating!
My life entered a new phase in each of my major moves: college, career, stay at home mom, working mom, single mom, and finally my last move 12 years ago to remarry and settle down. I said it would be my last move, but I am not so sure of that anymore. My kids moved three times before they were in high school. Not just small moves to a bigger house or better town, but significant culture shift moves from Puerto Rico to North Carolina to North Jersey to Central Jersey. When we finally settled in Hamilton, they both found it odd that so many of their classmates’ parents went to the same high school or to the rival school in town. I remember Hana asking me if I expected her to now stay in Hamilton!
Our lives were so different than what my Mom has experienced. Anyone can see why it is hard for me to wear her shoes and fully understand why moving is such a difficult and emotional decision. I can only understand that I don’t understand and be patient as she weighs her options.
Turning fifty, I realize that in 25 years I may also need to make similar decisions to those my Mom is facing. Although I can already feel the itch to move now, with Maine being my obsession, I know my hubby is even less experienced with moving than my Mom. He has moved once. And that move was less than five miles! Asking him to move to Maine is going to be a challenge. See how I said is going to be, because really, I find it very difficult to imagine never moving again so I anticipate having this discussion eventually. I find a thrill in living in new places with new challenges and new ideas. Moving to me is an opportunity to discover new friends and and new parts of me! Where I will be at 75 I have no idea. I want to enjoy my surroundings, so nature will be most important. I will admit though, snow and other weather may play a factor. Regardless, I hope I am still happy with just about anywhere that is safe and comfy! Maybe it will be a difficult decision, but I hope not.
So today my wish is that my Mom can slowly discover what she wants most. Whether it is the safety and comfort of the home she’s known for most of her life, or a smaller place still in the comfort of her hometown area, or the challenge of making the biggest move of her life from the Midwest to the East Coast. She has to make that choice. Not me. We all have our own shoes that fit only our own feet and leave our individual footprints on this world. Mine may be walking to Maine in 10 years or so….. But hers may be content just staying where they are.