This summer my wife and I moved from our home of 26 years to a new house a few miles north. The move not only meant a new place to rest our heads, but we also joined the apparently growing trend of multigenerational living, having purchased the house with our adult daughter.
Starting a new home with my daughter is exciting. It will mean some fun lifestyle changes and many projects to develop a living space that meets our mutual needs.
The new house is slightly smaller than the old, but it is designed with a main floor living area for my wife and me, and an upstairs living area for our daughter. We share the main kitchen.
I love the new arrangement, as my wife and I essentially moved from a two-story home with our bedroom upstairs, to a smaller, single-floor living area. We downsized to meet our needs while keeping all the advantages of a bigger home. Instead of cooking just for my wife and me, I’m cooking for a family again, and it feels great.
The house is located on six acres (2.4 hectares). I didn’t think we would retire somewhere with so much open space to care for, but I’m surprised by how much I like it. I actually like mowing the lawn, and there is a lot to mow now, but it gave me an excuse to buy a big fancy mower. There are beautiful gardens for my wife to tend. We have mature fruit trees to harvest, and apple pie is on tonight’s dessert menu. My daughter converted an area to raise goats and rabbits.
Recently I took on a project that was well outside my comfort zone. The house has a nice eating nook off the kitchen, lined by windows on three sides. My wife wanted a banquette to run along the windows and was shopping for all sorts of benches and cabinets that could do the job. A search on the Internet turned up several do-it-yourself projects to build benches and storage just like she wanted. I noodled it around a bit, bought the supplies I needed and a table saw to make the job go easier. To my surprise, the final product looks good, and, more importantly, it will serve our purposes for a long time.
It felt good to do something new and challenging. I’m not a carpenter, so I felt a real sense of accomplishment as the project came together.
We have so many more plans. There is so much to do building for the future in our new home. Much of it will require me to roll up my sleeves and try things I’ve never done before, and it feels great.
During the time we’ve been moving, planning, and building, my treatment continues. My lab work remains very good and very stable. In fact, my latest M-spike showed “Previously identified monoclonal component currently not detected.”
It was hard not to be overly excited by this result, but as I wrote before, I will temper my ups and downs and not let the numbers control my emotions. But the newest results really add to my current inclination to look at the future.
I feel that what I’m doing today, with my treatment and at the new house, is building for the future, whatever that future entails.
I briefly let multiple myeloma enter the planning. The single-level living will make it easier for me to get around if my physical challenges grow. Less space means less cleaning for my caregiver to keep the evil germs at bay. Living with my daughter adds a loving and qualified caregiver to the house. Some “future building” involves thoughts of my health, but that is not the factor that rises to the top of our planning.
While I was building the bench, for instance, my thoughts were not on my illness, but on the experience of creating something my wife has wanted for years, something that added functionality to the eating nook, and something that will be part of this house for years to come.
I’ve been surprised by how much I enjoy sharing the house with my daughter. My wife and I transitioned to “empty nesters” pretty well when the kids grew up. When we were thinking about the current move, I had some concerns about a loss of privacy and quiet. Instead, our home has a youthful energy.
My daughter is 25 and launching her adult life and her first home ownership, and she is taking us with her on the ride. We are exploring our new neighborhood together, enjoying drinks on the porch, and shopping for furniture and decorations. We have movie nights, and enjoy half-price family meals at a local restaurant. While it isn’t imminent, I know she is thinking about how it will be to have her future childrens’ grandparents in the same home.
Our shared dreams are about the future.
We are building for a future that remains unwritten.
Multiple myeloma will play a part of that future, but it has not determined the future.
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Photo Credit: (c) 2010 Mark Pouley
This is one of the first photos I ever printed and exhibited. We drive by this schoolhouse every time we go to our home in eastern Washington. I don’t know when the schoolhouse was built or used, but it stands today as a reminder of the past. It was built for the future of Washington children and has served for me to build my photography skills and passion.