“Would you ever consider moving in with your mom?” my mom’s friend asked me in 2011.
“Oh, hell no,” I said.
As a wise friend is fond of saying — never say never.
I stopped saying “hell no,” particularly to my mom’s friends, when Mom reminded me it’s not a very nice thing to say. And once it became clear I was going to do just that, my standard response became “Yes, I’m moving to my mother’s, God help me.” I realize “God help me” is along the same lines as “hell no” and probably isn’t very nice either, so I’m going to stop saying that one, too.
Besides, (famous last words) I really don’t think it’ll be that bad. I’m actually looking forward to it. It’ll be nice to have everything new and accessible. Nice to have wide doorways that I actually fit through instead of accidentally chipping wood or gouging drywall. To have a bathroom I don’t have to back into. Or constantly sop up water off the floor because I’ll have a proper “roll-in” shower. Not to mention, my mother has a pool that we outfitted last year with a wheelchair lift. And best of all, there’s cable galore. My mom easily has a thousand channels.
Frankie will be happy too. He’ll have his two favorite people under one roof. And a new cat buddy, one that occasionally plays with him instead of hissing if he brushes up next to her on the couch. Maybe with two cats, he’ll get the message: cats don’t like repeatedly getting their butts sniffed. And there’ll be longer walks (and power chair rides) as we have to trek a little further to the ocean.
In fact, the only drawback so far has been the bruising of my ego. When you’re in a wheelchair and tell people that you live alone, they immediately assess the situation and conclude that you’re quite capable. If, on the other hand, you mention that you live with your mom, they consider you dependent to the point of needing 24/7 care and not being able to dress yourself.
My mom will do everything in her power to dispell that myth. Already she’s fond of explaining that the move will benefit us both. That she’ll be my body, reaching some item on a top shelf, and I’ll be her mind, figuring out her cell phone or reminding her where she left her keys. My mom values her independence as much as me. She’s even suggested I call before coming over to her side. At first, I found this ridiculous, but on second thought, it works both ways. Is it too silly to have a doorbell installed on the door that links her side to mine? Maybe an intercom? I’ll have a private entrance, a small living room and a kitchenette (with everything but the oven). We won’t be roommates so much as next door neighbors. In fact, maybe that’s what I’ll tell people: I don’t live with my mom, I live next to my mom.
Of course, the writer in me is looking forward to a plethora of new material. From renovation nightmares to disagreements over disciplining Frankie to crazy Carlito, my mom’s bipolar cat. I want it all to go well, but rest assured, I’ll be writing about it if it doesn’t. And so begins another chapter: a mother, a daughter, a dog and two cats. Wish us luck. We may need it.