My Parents Are My Neighbors

 Rarasaur’s Prompt for the Promptless this week is: Gezelligheid. 

No, not godzundheit, gezelligheid.

Gezelligheid: a Dutch noun meaning the comfort or coziness of being a home with loved ones, neighbors or general togetherness.

A perfect fit for me.  Why?

My mom lives across the street from me.


Most of you have eyes googling out of your head.


Some are thinking, “Oh you poor soul!”

Others, “Yee-oza, what a drag.”

And a hefty bunch are shaking their heads as if it All.  Fits.  In.  “Ahhh…no wonder she’s nutty, this explains it all!”

To some, living with parents so close by would be a fate worse than homelessness.  After all, isn’t that what Growing Up means?  To get out on one’s own?  And you will be even more shocked to hear that  we moved in after them.

THERAPY!  THERAPY!  Over here, here’s one you can throw the book at!


Um, what were YOU THINKING?

Parents may all have the same title, but that is where the similarity ends.  To me, my parents are the most welcome, low profile, non-nosy people I have ever met.  They will give you the shirt off their backs (well, my mom will) and feed you like a king.  Grandchildren are their light and life.  And my parents did not have any grandchildren living near them for the first seven years of their life.  They lived on pictures and short visits to my brother and I who lived over a thousand miles away from them.  The heartbreak in my mom’s eyes every time she left made me so sad.  She lived to be a mom and “mom-mom”.  And her ability to immerse herself in these roles was very limited.

My brilliant brother, upon his marriage, told my parents he didn’t even want to live in the same state as they.   A statement that to this day just horrifies me.  This to the people who paid for his doctorate, who went without nice clothes or a nice house to save for his future.  My dad who lived overseas for two years to get enough money for college.  It was a revolting statement.  I turned and said, “Mom, you can live next door to me and I would be happy to be your neighbor.”

I told them to come to Missouri and live near us when they retired.  Having no strong family ties in Pennsylvania, and liking the laid back, open air feel to Kansas City, they said yes and decided to build a house.  Their house in PA was a very small, old three-story “twin” style home with no central air, so the chance for something they designed and built (with, oh-happy-day, a bathroom on the main floor   🙂 ) was a dream come true.  They found a lot on a corner lake in a swanky brand new development.


Mom and dad’s house from my driveway…we really can’t see each other unless we try

I loved that development.  I drooled over that development.  And I was happy for my parents.

Halfway into their build, I had a disaster strike my nice, cheaper house.  A five-inch-in-one-hour dumping rain (caught on national TV as the Chief’s were playing Monday Night Football) broke loose a drain pipe  in my basement and flooded the whole thing.  I was devastated. We had just finished that basement after a year of renovation.  Brand new everything now gone.  And the plumber was concerned over the glue used for the pipes.  “It looked old.  You may have more of this, but you wouldn’t know without ripping out the walls.”  Well, I wasn’t ripping up one more thing.

I am famous for my knee jerk reactions.  I knee jerked and said, “We Are Out Of This House”.  When I get a fire lit, step back or get burned.  I fixed the basement and put it up for sale within a month.  And sold it before I had any new place to go.

Hello mom and dad.  Guess who is coming for dinner?  And breakfast? And, um, can we take over your brand new lower level?

Yes we could, and we did.  And we all got along just spiffy.  My husband, even though sometimes I paint him as a cranky fussypants, is only that way with me.  He is lovely with everyone else.  I’m sure there is a lot of psychology to those statements, but not for this post.  Then the Plot Across The Street opened up.

We looked at each other.  Dare we?  Absolutely.

Let me tell you what that has done for us.  I never had family in my life other than my parents.  They each had family that, while colorful, were not nice people and had abused both of them.  To me, family was mom-dad and my brother.  But not so for my kids, for they got to see their mom-mom and pop-pop every day.  Brent and I left them ( for free) anytime we went shopping or needed to get out without the hassle of little kids.  I got three dinners a week because I didn’t get home from my job until 7pm or later.  My parents took my kids to and from school, or kept them when little, on the days I worked.  I was able to throw my kids to my mom on more than one personal or work related emergency.  They were a God-send when I began with multiple chronic illnesses then cancer.  We have both had air conditioners fail and phones fail and electricity fail with the knowledge that a working house is a trot across the street.  I had a gas line rupture with the knowledge that a home was a trot across the street.   I really don’t know what I would have done without them across the street.  As they grow older, at some point it will be my turn to help them.

We don’t bug each other.  Some weeks we don’t see each other at all depending on my work schedule.  It’s all about respect.  But holidays are a breeze.  My brother often comes down and we eat our holiday meals at my mom’s house (she wins the cooking game hand’s down and has a better kitchen space).  And best of all my brother stays with THEM.

My brother has a Doctorate in Economics (Game Theorist, of all things and voted #1 professor at the U of Iowa), but hasn’t passed kindergarten in the topic of Family relationships.  But, without telling me straight off, he realized his error in writing off mom and dad.  A year or two after our move around, he started seeing the advantage I had with ready meals and babysitting, and started making noises that they could come and live in their city if they wanted when they tried of KC.  And has even mentioned that he get a monetary compensation for all the meals and free babysitting and help my parents have given him.


Sorry, sukkah, you threw that garage sale treasure in the trash.


11 comments on “My Parents Are My Neighbors

  1. […] Repressed Expressions – My Parents Are My Neighbors […]

  2. When I married Ju, I moved into the house she already occupied. We both knew it wasn’t ideally situated. When a property became vacant close to where I’d previously lived we upped sticks and moved.We could see where my parents lived if we poked our heads out the front door. Some might call it a mistake but we didn’t since my mother was a dream to be close to. My father was a different proposition but that’s another story. As I worked fairly close to home I had ample time to see my family, my parents and even my sister ( whom I liked less than I liked her husband).
    My parents died a few years apart and I was lucky enough to be close by to hold hands and have my beautiful wife for comfort. By this time I was working away and my daughter living away from home for work. There was no tie to the home anymore and we moved closer to my new work. I never regretted moving so that my parents were neighbours.Our daughter came home to live and found a new job closer to us and then a house not far away so she was obviously happy to have parents nearby. Even now there isn’t a week goes by where we don’t see one another ( even more so since she’s due to give birth in August).
    Your brother is the loser and you’ve got the benefit and the closeness of having that family contact for you and your family. You made the right choices. Well done ! There are more nice people around when family groups stay together.
    xx Hugs xx

    • I really think that families are meant to be nearby. The isolation caused by rootlessness leaves a sense of driftlessness, if that is a word. Family grounds us, reminds us of our culture and heritage, keeps us on the up and up and helps us when we are down and out. Or at least that is how it should be. And that is how I have found it to be with my parents close by.

  3. Sounds like you have wonderful parents. God bless them!

  4. […] Repressed Expressions – My Parents Are My Neighbors […]

  5. […] Repressed Expressions – My Parents Are My Neighbors […]

  6. […] / Fish of Gold – All the Comforts of Home / Mama Bear Musings – Gezellegheid / Repressed Expressions – My Parents Are My Neighbors / Breathing Space- Gezelligheid Gesundheit / This Typing Makes Me Look Busy… The Changing of […]

  7. Good Grief! We have something else in common. I grew up in Southwest Iowa, just 150 miles from Kansas City. Small town called Shenandoah, Iowa. Until a few years ago I had family living in Kansas City or in Raytown all my life. I still have a distant cousin in the area, but have no idea where he is now. One of my dearest high school classmates has a very successful consulting business there in Kansas City. I’ve been there several times, as I remember, when we were younger.
    After I attended college for two years at Northwest Missouri State, I joined the Air Force and moved South (Selma, Alabama) and I’ve been in the South since. I never lived near mom and dad. Not because we didn’t get along. My life just took me in another direction. I visited often and called often all my life. They both died in March, 2005 just two weeks apart (actually withing 15 minutes of being exactly two weeks apart). I can’t wait to see what else we have in common. I realize KC is not like just outside Shenandoah, but when you consider I talk with friends in the blogosphere from as far away as Singapore and Argentina and Ukraine, it’s still a small world. I didn’t mean to ramble here. Good grief, that’s about half my biography I just shared. My how I love to ramble (talk, chat, email, reply)

    • Me too….I have a song coming out–Shenandoah! So I was amused to see that my song and your town were the same! Mid-westerners love to talk…..its either that or hide from the storms… 🙂 I actually grew up in Pennsylvania, in an area called Little Italy (or what I lovingly call The Spaghetto). I hated life there, so when I got accepted to William Jewell, I came to visit and LOVED it. Been here ever since (except for 2 years after college). The enormous skies let me BREATHE.

  8. You have a beautiful heart and anybody who talks with this much love about her parents is A-okay in my book! I’m a mom and you’ve warmed my heart!!!

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