Letter to My Daughters
I will never live with you, even when I am really, really old.
Don’t ask. Don’t think it.
It will never happen.
If I lived with you, there’s a chance that I would begin to depend on you for everything.
I might stop cooking dinner for myself, and wait until you announced dinner every night; then if it didn’t meet with my approval, I might make a face and eat it anyway. Or I might make myself toast, while you worried if I was getting enough to eat.
I might stop driving, because it scared me, and then you would have to drive me everywhere.
When you got me to the grocery store, I might speed off on my mini car, fill my cart with cookies, candy, ice cream, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, and salt free chips. Then when you asked me where the real food was, I would shrug, and wave you away.
If I lived with you, I might have my TV on for 14 hours a day. I might watch the same maudlin movies, over and over. I might listen to it so loud, that you couldn’t hear your own TV, should you want to watch it, and I would stay up long after you went to bed, so you would lie awake listening to mine.
You might not be able to shut your door, in case I needed you in the night.
I would probably still like Everybody Loves Raymond, but I might hate Marie, Raymond’s mother. I might think she was bossy, pushy, domineering. I might insist that it wasn’t funny, that they were an‘awful’ family, while still watching it several times a day.
No, dear daughters, I will never live with you.
When I had the hump, I might sulk like a child, turn the TV off, cross my arms and close my eyes; and when you worried and asked me what was wrong, I might shrug, and say “nothing”, even though you would KNOW that there was something.
You might start feeling that you were bad daughters, that you weren’t doing ENOUGH.
When it was time for vacation, you might want to take your children, and by then, your grandchildren, on a trip. Just you. And even though it might not interest me, I might make sure you felt very guilty for not taking me.
Do you have any idea how long you might feel bad for leaving me home?
No, no, I will not be living with any of you. Not ever.
Because I love you too, too much, as I know you love me.
I don’t want you to be torn between that love, and the annoying old lady that I might become. For though I am full of life now, and love my life, there is every possibility that I may not always be myself.
I don’t want to see that look in your eyes, when I am rambling on and on about the me I remember, when I tell the same stories over and over.
I don’t want to see that impatience on your face, when I am driving you crazy.
No, I will not live with you.
Whether I am living alone with my looms, or being cared for somewhere, I want you to come visit me, take me away for the afternoon, spend small bits of intended time with me.
Then, only then, will I be sure that I am still living my own life, and not yours.
Oh wow... I never, ever, ever wish to have to live with my daughter. Just a look from her and I feel Sooooo judged, plus, with my attitude she would probably toss me out into a snow bank when winter came around. I would rather buy a VW bus or an old 1960's camper trailer and live in it!! Seriously.
My daughter and I have an arraignment. I supported her for the last ten years so she could go to college and enjoy her life. She worked part time so she did have her own money. Next year, when she is working and making a fortune....she will support me and I will contribute the money I make to my retirement fund. After ten years we will reassess our arraingment. It sounds like she wants to stay on here and live her own life while I live here and live mine.
If it doesn't work out then I go to plan B. the RV or hippie wagon route.
Taking care of a parent is never easy. After a few years of helping out my parents at their home my mom is now in the nursing home with Alzheimers. Dad continues to live alone with support from me and caregivers. Living with my husband & I is not an option. 725 sq ft house...I think it's wonderful you wrote that to your daughters. I enjoy your blog!
Good for you. I have a similar understanding with my kids too. As they see how NUTS my dad, their grandfather, makes me, they will never want to have to deal with a parent like that!
Karen and Steve
(Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard
With a lump in my throat, I send you a hug.
Wow, so moving, such a serious issue as we age, and such wisdom you have, and then to put it into words with your great communication skill! I know i will be directing several of my near and dear to view this blog. I also send you a hug as Debbie B did.
That's a tough one.. mother.. self.. daughter. Hugs to you.
I am absolutely with you on this one. Wow, a lot to think about. Blessings to you, Hilary, you are an amazing woman.
Hilary, powerful post - beautifully stated, to the point. I don't ever want to be that burden to my children either. I don't know how people lose their way and become so dependant, I think it has to do with loneliness and fear - but I hope that if I'm lucky enough to grow old, I will remember this and always be independent, till the day I die.
My daughter I moved in with my mom in 1999. We shared many good times and bad together. I became her caretaker in 1995 until she passed in November of 2000. I would not have missed a minute. I think I was very lucky ~ and yes her damned TV was too loud all.the.time.
Would i want to live with my daughter?? H**CK NO!!!
I mean we moved in with Mom in '90. Oops. Time warp.
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