Becoming a Multi-Generational Family when Social Security for the Disabled and Section 8 Housing are involved can be fraught with difficulties. When my daughter and son-in-law asked me to move to California and be the nanny to their first born, I knew it was the next chapter in my life. I’m turning 61, a new decade. No hesitation. As I look at the host of hurdles which need to be jumped over, I still know it is the right thing but there is plenty of work to do to make it work.
To begin with, I am a quiet person who has lived the twelve years since my daughter graduated high school alone. To move into their home with a brand new baby and two dogs is change enough. Most of the time I don’t have any noise in my apartment save the sometimes relentless talking my cat does. I just moved, literally a month ago, just purchased furniture needed to make a substantial downsizing work, started back to walking my cat daily, and reduced the outer noise volume to nothing.
I live on Social Security Disability for Working Employees and part-time work as a CNA. This change would mean negotiating the tricky minefield of employee payment within the family unit. I will also need to figure out a way to keep my Section 8, whether it means renting a room or studio. Should I pod, share a house with other women my age?
I currently live in Connecticut. What are the best options in this new living arrangement? Does giving myself options mean I am leaving the door open? If so, my cat might escape. And speaking of my cat – all those adjustments I am to make, he is making. Can a mature, one person pet adjust to so much new?
Moving across country wouldn’t be an issue. I’ve done it several times before. But this time someone else needs to drive my car and possessions across the great divide. And all that downsizing I just did will making will be nothing compared to what will need doing to make this move. This last move I gave away what I didn’t need. This time I will need to sell or donate belongings that mean something to me as well as divest myself of things like linens, cookware, dishes, Christmas treasures, a brand new cat tower I put together myself, etc. Things I thought of as essential. God has been teaching me things don’t matter, people do.
Boundaries . . . a veritable minefield all its own. Sharing space with others means listening and comprehending what matters to them. Being reflective. Bending and being fluid. For all parties involved, except the baby. My family has produced strong-headed people. My daughter wants to take care of me while I take care of her baby. How does that work? I’ve become pretty independent over the years. I raised both she and her brother, who I will also be closer to, another source for boundary issues. I have both physical and mental issues now but none that impair my ability to care for myself.
Values. . . such core aspects of a personality. I already know my children have different ones than I do. Especially over religious matters. Making them merge will be interesting.
Grandparenting, how wonderful, delightful, daunting. Am I up for the rigors of caring for a child 8-10 hours daily? What will I do to carve time out for myself? To keep my independence and soul intact may take a bit of processing. But this is what I will do. . . with joy and thanksgiving. The rest is trivia.