Today we said a temporary goodbye to Mama and Papa Bear, Bear’s parents. It has been a pure joy to have them living in the lower level of our home for the past year.
When I talk about my in-law’s living with me, people typically respond with surprise.
Expecting for me to possibly respond with a polite touch of sarcasm, they ask, “How’s that going?”
The next remark is usually intended to cover up their initial hopes to hear about the horror stories, “That’s nice!”
Finally, they ask the most luring question of all, “So, why do your in-laws live with you?”
There’s a couple answers to that question.
1. For the past couple years, Bear and I have been creating this grand plan of having a homestead. We want to buy this particular kind of acreage in a particular area and to use said acreage to be self-sustaining in particular ways and live in a particular minimalistic but awesome home. There is much more to that, but in addition to it, we’ve always liked the idea of taking care of our parents in their older age. Discussion about our homestead dreams began with Mama and Papa Bear since my parents are – without being rude – two decades younger than them. My parents are still raising kids in middle school. They – thank God! – are not in any position near needing help. Granted, Mama and Papa Bear are in good health and don’t need to be taken care of yet either, but our dream was something they seemed to find interest in. So, we began researching all over the United States for the right state to buy our homestead property in. Mama Bear and I also found ourselves sharing tiny home blueprints on a regular basis via e-mail and next thing you know they had made the decision to put their home on the market.
2. In the background of these details were additional details of which I won’t go into, but the result was inconsolable anguish for the lives of mine and Bear. Mama and Papa Bear (and every amazing other soul who has so sweetly devoted their hearts to us) felt a desire to be near us, to support us and to love us past our pain.
It is for these reasons that they put their adorable little house on the market for either rent or sale. They had been in that house for many years and together had it looking the exact way they wanted their house to look. Their carpenter was over at their place always working on little projects – achieving looks close to perfection for Mama Bear. They had just ordered new Samsung appliances. Things were in ship-shape, but they left their comfort to move into our lower level. The lower level is pretty basic, by the way. It consists of a living room, a bedroom and a tiny kitchen (without appliances). Talk about a sacrifice.
Of course, I understand that much of this was out of love for us, and the other portion was out of the understanding that it would be temporary. We thought we would end up finding our homestead, or at least taking drastic measures to work toward finding it over the past year, but we did not. Instead, they stayed in the lower level with pleasant hearts. It’s safe to say that God does a lofty deal on the heart when materialism is not an option.
Long story short, today they are packed and ready to move back into their home in the northern Midwest. They had been renting it out and after some things came up with their tenant – as well as some long talks between the four of us – it was decided moving back to their home would be in their best interest. The plan is still the plan in the back of our minds, but Bear and I aren’t ready for that kind of commitment yet. We have some dreams that need to be lived out before we settle into that kind of home, and we all agreed that in the meantime Mama and Papa Bear should enjoy the home sweet home back in the midwest.
It’s been a great year. Bear and I have both been so grateful for their presence, support and friendship. (I feel I should add here that we have also been more than grateful for the outpouring of support from my side of the family, as well as the support of our friends.) There was something sweet, though, about being able to walk downstairs and find the comfort that comes with a loving and familiar face. We wish the very best for Mama and Papa Bear in this journey back to their home and look forward to what God has in store for the four of us both in the months to come and in the future!
And to wrap up this post, I have to share a recent (and possibly the sweetest) photo of Bear and his dad.