So here’s a thing. Maya Angelou, I think, says, ”when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” I’m not always so good at that, but once I finally get there, I’m there.
I was also raised to believe you don’t talk about family problems in public. Sometimes, I adhere to that, sometimes I don’t. In this case, I’m breaking that rule, although I guess I might unpublish this at some point.
You may or may not know that I share a house with my partner, MP, my adult daughter and two grand children. This was my idea 4 years ago when my daughter needed to start over with pretty much nothing and I had just moved to where-I-am-now. I bought a house that was big enough for us all to live in comfortably with the idea that it would not be just my house but everyone’s house. My idea was that we would help my daughter financially and with kid stuff and she would help with upkeep and maintenance. I even shared the idea that as the kids grew up and I aged, she would be there for me when I needed her.
She was enthusiastic about that. She had often expressed the belief that the way other cultures blended generations living together was better than the American ideal of everyone living on their own. I had been more into separate living, but could see the benefits of this.
Four years later, here we are in this house together. And in many ways, it’s been a delight. I don’t regret doing it. But it’s time to revisit the plan.
The reality is that the house needs upkeep and maintenance that I am not able to provide. MP, as you may know, is disabled and not able to do it. And my daughter does not have the time or energy to do it. It falls to me to figure out how to take care of it, at least partly because the house is in my name because I’m the only one with good credit and a decent income.
This summer, I’ve had to acknowledge that my daughter is not going to help me do some things that need to be done, and I’m having trouble hiring somebody to take care of them. So that has sucked, and continues to suck. But the reality is, she’s not very available to help with anything. And I have no reason to think that’s going to change. I’m not really blaming or judging her – she is busy, she’s working, she’s got the kids, she has a social life and does self-care. I don’t want her to not do those things. But the reality is I can NOT count on her to help with anything.
So she’s not helping me now (although financially she contributes and that matters, I don’t want her to move out right now!) But in conversation the other night, she assured me that she’s not planning on moving out any time soon, adding, ”I mean, I’m not going to live with you forever, it’s going to be a while, maybe in ten years I’ll move out!”
Y’all. I’m 66 years old. You can do the math – in ten years, I’ll be 76. The kids will be grown. I am much more likely to need help then than I do now.
Are you hearing this the way I am? It sounds to me like I help raise the kids, financially and practically. She lives in the house like a renter, not responsible for maintenance or upkeep, until she doesn’t need help anymore. Maybe it won’t be 10 years, maybe it will be 5 years. Whatever. Whenever she decides it’s time to go, then she’s outa here.
I’m thinking that’s a sweet deal for her, and it sucks to be me.
I don’t think I’m mad at her. I set myself up for this. I might well have done the same at her age, in her situation.
But this is some bullshit.
Clearly, I need to revisit my life plan. I think maybe we need to do a contract. Year-to-year. Starting in January, maybe, so I have time to think about what I really want. And I’m going to start thinking about other options. Well, continue thinking about other options, because I’ve been doing that lately anyhow.