In a few weeks, my elderly mother-in-law will be moving in with Steve and me. I’m terrified. (So is he.) When I tell people that she’s moving in with us–and these are sometimes strangers who don’t know her–I see the terror in their eyes, too. This tells me they’ve been there, they’re going to be there, or they’ve heard stories.
Don’t get me wrong, we get along great. We love each other, and she thinks of me as the daughter she never had. It’s just, we’re so different, she and I. She’s a prepper; I’m a run-out-to-the-store when we run out of that thing. She gets up at five in the morning, whereas if I have to get up when it’s dark outside, I wonder why God is punishing me. She’s the ant; I’m the grasshopper, humming along casually without a care. (This explains my sad checkbook.)
We’ve been moving her things in gradually, and last week, she asked if we’d take her boxes of Kleenex. “Sure. No problem!” There were a couple of boxes on her front table. Then she took me to the cupboard and started hauling out more boxes. There were more boxes in a different cabinet. We now have enough Kleenex to last us through a zombie apocalypse. We can get creative with them, making blankets out of the individual sheets by taping them together. Or maybe a smallish-sized tent. When it rains, I can use them as a temporary hat until they become too waterlogged.
Don’t even get me started on her paper towel supply. Or the ball of string…
Last night I dreamed that I was walking her little dog, Kai. For some reason, we ended up at an elementary school’s open house, and a young woman had taken Kai. When I went to claim her, the woman demanded $20 ransom, which I didn’t have on me. I’m not sure what this means, if anything, other than I may have some unresolved anxiety about living with Kai (who is a little bit of an ass, to be honest).
It’ll be different, for sure. Maybe it’ll be the best thing the three of us have experienced, living together, sharing our evening meals together, going on walks with her, slowly, carefully. My mother-in-law, in actuality, is probably more terrified than we are. It’s a big deal, leaving the house you’ve lived in for so many years, going from being independent to having to make compromises like you do when you live with others. One thing I know for sure is that we won’t know how it will be until it happens.
One day at a time.