A Perfect Solution?

“But what if we could?” she asked and continued scrolling through screens. Bursting with excitement over her new dream, she confessed what we’d been brainstorming.

“You two have been plotting behind my back? When were you going to tell me?” He paced like a caged panther.

We called a pow-wow and after numerous discussions—some heated, others in icy chill—we arrived at a win / win truce. My son-in-law would still be the king of the castle although the house would have a three-way ownership. It’s a sure bet Big Mama’s major shareholder status became lost in the glare from the stars in their eyes.

Instead of taking a year to plan, we bought the perfect house in five cyclonic weeks. Their house sold in three days; mine, though much newer, took three months. Closing date set, payment arranged, moving resources coordinated, we drowned in activity with no time to think. Six days before my closing date, my house finally sold to an anxious buyer. Another win / win. I had one week to pack and move out. I had been frazzled over bridge financing, but now set free.

Real life is what you’d expect: real. When my daughter and her husband moved into our new house the week before, they had family and friends to help them. Young family and friends. I hired someone to move my heavy furniture but I lugged all my books (countless heavy boxes); clothing; kitchen, dining-room and bedroom paraphernalia, and computer equipment, alone. All my friends are my age. I didn’t want the responsibility for anyone’s heart attack. Already we were two separate houses. No offer of help came. Lucky I was fit and managed on my own but my body paid for it afterwards.

That was six years ago. Multigenerational living is more advantageous for the young couple than it is for the parent(s). Expectations on both sides become automatic, but not everyone views disparity in the same way.

When we entered into this agreement, it appeared a perfect solution to save me money and award my daughter her inheritance early. The implications of living under one roof were yet to reveal themselves.

Our homesharing arrangement isn’t perfect but continues to improve and alter as our lives change and the children grow. Do I have regrets?

Not yet.

Click for more on Home Sharing.

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  1. I love your story, Tess. It does say who you are quite well.

  2. Your piece could have been much more informative to readers looking to do the same, if you shed light on what your living situation ended up being. You mentioned two house holds, so, is it a duplex, have a guest house out back, etc.? What if one of the three owners wants to sell? Also, maybe some insight into what you’ve learned the past six years on how your family has worked out the living situation, particularly the son-in-law who didn’t seem too pleased with the notion. My father-in-law moved in with his son and family, and it really doesn’t seem to be going smoothly. My wife and I go to visit, and it is just a very odd situation, as nobody takes the lead on food, chores, activities, etc.

  3. Thank you for your comment. Yes, you are correct. The piece would have been too long had I gone into everything at once. I do plan to share my experience with others considering multigenerational living as a solution.

  4. A well-written and riveting piece, Tess. It’s relevant to several people I know, including a woman who made a similar move with daughter and family, but — unlike you — did not have a totally separate area of her own. The first year was very rough; subsequent years became better.

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