Seven years ago my parents, my sister and myself gathered around our family dinning room table to have a very hard and real conversation.  My father had recently been diagnosed with MS and my sister and I were growing young families.  Simply looking down the road 5 years made us realize we would soon feel the tension of being fully present for our parents as they age, and being tied to the routine of having young children.  We learned the term “sandwich” generation; a generation of people (usually in their 30s or 40s) who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.  No bologna – that’s exactly our season!

So, what did we do with this reality?  We began writing down goals and dreams.  Through a process of asking good questions a 5 year plan was designed outlining financial, life and spiritual goals.  It was a way to set sail into an uncertain future.  Paper alone cannot start a fire, but something powerful happens when you write a dream down.  It sets a fire inside you.  This blaze began to light our path.  A multi-generational arrangement seemed to offer the quality-of-life we all desired.  Our parents would have the comfort and support we could provide as they age and our families would have the benefit of having a close relationship with their grandparents.  We believe connection is a key to longevity.  Being together again offered advantages money could never buy.

Through the coming years, we tested the idea with short-term/low-risk opportunities. For instance, we gathered in the New Braunfels area for Thanksgiving.  Renting a large home, we were able to share responsibilities, plan activities and work through life-style differences.  It helped us practice the skill of communicating our needs and setting expectations.  Each adventure had its unique teaching moments. This one offered a great lesson in differentiation.  We creatively learned how to accommodate differing bed times, food needs, recreational interests, family schedules and nuisances.  The seeds of our future were sprouting.

This home design features separate living space with private entrances, full kitchen, living room, dinning room and bedrooms. They are connected by a common hall with laundry facilities. It’s so much more than your typical “mother-in-law” suit.

Our understanding of multi-generational living continued to grow as we read books, learned from other cultures and talked about our own dream.  Then, the dream began to transform into reality.  Two years ago, through unexpected life-events, I relocated to Lubbock.  Our parents came soon after and we knew…this was the birth of what was simply ink on paper a few years ago.  My parents and I will be moving into a multi-generational home in just a few weeks.  My sister is just a few miles down the road.  Being together again has strengthened us all.  We are gaining a new perspective on eternity, this side of Heaven. The art of living together is a Kingdom of God theme.  Understandably, this arrangement may not be good for everyone, it makes so much sense to us.  This quality-of-life choice promotes individuality family support, sustainability, and connection.  These are exemplifying aspects of multi-generational living.

While this is just the beginning, we would be honored to chat with you about exploring the legacy God has for your family and seeing it become a reality.  We also welcome veterans to shine light on our path with the wisdom you’ve gained through the years.   Being connected to our roots and branches makes for a strong tree!!!

 

 

 

Denise Dietz