Tiny House Living

My mom

We were tired. We meaning Dan and I, and my sister and brother-in-law, Linda and Phil. The four of us worked really hard moving my mom from a two room senior apartment into a studio apartment. Alex also helped us immensely with the large and/or technical items. John, Joe, Barb and Joseph all worked the next day and beyond to haul away and take care of the leftovers. We decided to move my mom to stretch the dollars.

It all started about a month ago, when Linda and I went to talk with the manager of where she lived. The care group owner had mentioned the idea of moving my mom to a studio. My mom is 98; she doesn’t need a lot of space. While sitting in the office, the manager said, “There is a studio opening up in about a month. It is the apartment right next door to your mom.” As soon as she said those words, I knew it was a sign from above. This was meant to be.

As the month went by, we worked on getting rid of things my mom no longer needed. As moving day drew nearer, I explained to my mom about the new apartment. I even took her over there and showed her the place. She said, “Okay. Yes, it is fine.” She’s very agreeable and pleasant, but honestly, she wasn’t really engaged either way.

Soon enough, the day came where Dan and I could go into the apartment and figure out where everything would go and what things from her old apartment would find a new home.

12 x 12.5 foot empty room

When entering the new apartment, there is a short hallway with a closet and a kitchenette on the right. At the end of the hall, there is a room which is 12 by 12.5 foot. There is a closet on the left wall. On the opposite wall, there is a nice big window. And on the wall in between, there is a door to the bathroom, a short area for the tv, and then the door to the outside.

The first five minutes I was in that room, I thought, “This is not going to work. It’s too small!” The small size of the studio overwhelmed me. We need three feet of walking space in too many areas, I thought. I voiced my concern to Dan, and he replied, “It’ll work. It’ll be nice.” That and a deep breath was all I needed to become solution oriented.

So now, one could say my mom is part of the tiny house movement. While not quite a minimalist, she has (with our help) freed herself of so much stuff that isn’t really needed. I like to think that the things we gave away will be put to good use by someone else.

Above the kitchen cabinets with mantle clock and pottery

My mom has all she needs and a bit more. She has a comfortable bed. She has her tv. She has her recliner loveseat. She has her lifelong treasures, including several from her parents: a mantle clock, a stained glass lamp with two pull chain sockets, and a red antique chair which provides a third seat for visitors. We displayed her small collection of Van Briggle pottery which my parents bought on their honeymoon in Colorado Springs. She has her St. Louis Cardinal bobble heads as well as her St. Louis Cardinal blanket which serves as her bedspread. Go Cards! Go Mom!

We worked to not overcrowd the apartment – including the areas that can’t be seen, such as the closets, cabinets and drawers. All is organized and stored in logical places. It’s cozy and comfortable. It’s small, but she has everything she really needs to live and to enjoy life.

12 x 12.5 foot room with furniture

I brought home some boxes of things to go through, and I’m storing her Christmas decorations for her at our house. But moving her is a reminder to myself, to pare down, to organize, to save only those things rich with sentiment, so as to enjoy the things we do have and to enjoy life. Because life isn’t stuff. Life is love. That’s what we need. That’s what matters.

When we were all done and bone aching tired, my sister suggested we say a prayer. So, still with our masks on, the five of us, including my mom, held hands, and we said our prayer. That moment was the most engaged my mom was all day. At the end of our prayer, Phil gave a short sentiment that he hoped my mom would be happy in her new home for as long as she could. And for just a moment, my mom smiled and her eyes sparkled. She felt the love. I felt it was a sign from above that we had done the right thing, and this new home of hers was meant to be.

Yellow flower in sunlight

35 comments

  1. God hears our prayers and your mother responded to it also. How wonderful you all could see that sparkle in her eyes and see the smiles. Yes life is all about LOVe!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Betty, this just has me tearing up, and when you got to the prayer, I could sense the love in that moment. I know the difficulty of these decisions, and yet the love and the joy and the tiny moments of hopefulness and thankfulness shine through as well. A friend once shared with me “we do the best we can, and generally that is enough.” I had read her journey with her mother, and then she was reading mine with dad and then mom. It helped a lot to hear that someone understood that we do all we can as long as we can. Like you, in those processes of change, I changed, which is why I am now paring down, removing that from my life which is not essential or truly brings me joy and is meaningful. You are right, life is not stuff, life is alive when love is alive. Peace be unto you and your mother, and thank goodness for the Dan in all of our lives. I know this was a ‘sign’ for me, and since I have been having them all morning thus far, it cannot be a coincidence. Pass it on. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s wonderful how things like this work out: the right place, time, and people needed to make the move. It’s also great that your mom is comfortable with her new place. Your story brought both a smile and a tear, Betty.
    Thank you for telling it here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi David. It brought a smile and a tear to me, too. My mom would always say, if it was meant to be everything would fall in place. And it sure did for this move. I appreciate your comment. Enjoy your Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad it all worked out, but mostly that she’s happy in the studio. We did the same thing for my late mother, moving her from a one-bedroom to a studio. But in her case she HATED it because it meant visitors immediately saw the bed when entering, and that was something that really bothered her. We did it to save her dwindling savings. Eventually she stopped commenting on it fortunately! – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I understand! And that is the very reason why we didn’t choose a studio when we moved her in 3 1/2 years ago. I know she would have been very happy and content with whatever we chose for her. However, my sister and I thought it would be depressing for her to see her bed much of the day. We also played many a game of Scrabble and Farkel on her kitchen table – which does not fit in her new place. Things are different now though. For one, she is far less mobile. At 98, we want her to be comfortable, safe and feeling loved. I’m glad your mother eventually adjusted to the studio. But I sure do understand. If something bothers me, I just can’t help it! And Dan knows it’s best to change it, if possible. 🙂 Thanks for your comment, and enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a nice story. The prayer was a wonderful way to end the moving process. So happy your mom smilesd and her eyes sparkled. Your Mother has lived a very long life and I wish her many more days.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That is beautiful that you made her happy. I can see that your mom means a lot to you.

    It’s great being near family. I would have liked to stay near mine.

    The children eventually take care of the parents.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hopefully your mom will settle in well. Having gone through similar experiences with parents and in-laws, I’m betting that she will. She’s comfortable and safe and she knows she is loved. What more can we ask for?
    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you are right. I think she will settle in just fine. Many things are the same since it was just one apartment over. Thanks for reading, and enjoy your weekend!

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  8. I really love this, and can relate to everything you described, having been through this very recently with my husband’s mom. You’re so right about “stuff” and how insignificant most of it is. Your mom is blessed to have such caring children and family. Blessings to your mom in her tiny home as she lives her remaining days/months/years here on earth.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m sure you are very tired, physically and emotionally. The room looks very cozy and comfortable and I hope your Mother will be happy there. Having her treasured items close to view and enjoy will help. I’m glad that she is still independent and able to live by herself in her own apartment and I know that is a blessing to you, too. Thank you for sharing this sweet story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Beth. We were very tired but also really happy with how it turned out. She does receive a lot of services there. There is a care group who provides excellent care, helping her with many daily activities. We so very much appreciate the excellent care they give her. It is hard work! Thanks for reading and your comment, and I hope you have a good week ahead.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. What a beautiful post. So glad your mom is settled in and comfortable. How true it is that life is not about the stuff we have but rather all about relationships and love. I’m so glad she is happy where she is and is still able to live by herself in her own space. But the best part is she knows that she is loved by her family. The prayer together as a family was such a beautiful way to end the whole moving process. Less we ever forget “God is good, all the time”. Enjoy the week ahead

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I appreciate your kind words, and yes – “God is good, all the time.” My mom is very much loved by her family, and we all are very much loved by God – all the time. 🙂 Your last sentence inspired that thought! Blessings for the new week!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m sure that must of been an emotional day for all concerned. Moving into a smaller space is difficult no matter what age you are. It seems everyone handled it well. My mother has so much “stuff” and won’t allow us to give anything away. It seems she has some sort of emotional attachment to everything. I feel downsizing her would be practically impossible. But if that day does come, I will remember your experience. Thanks for posting.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My mom has downsized two other times getting to this studio apartment. I remember when she moved from her home of 40+ years everything had a story! Right now, with my dollhouse stuff, storing outside items, regular garage stuff, and now some items from my mom, Dan says our garage looks like we are hoarders! LOL. Over time, things get taken care of. Thanks for reading, and enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This post brought back a lot of memories. In 2010 we moved my parents from the home they lived in for over 40 years to a house across the street from us; a few months later we moved my mother-in-law from her condo into an assisted living facility. Cleaning out my parents’ home was enough to teach me that I’m NOT going to do that to my children. Hugs to you and yours; these transitions aren’t easy.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. What a wonderful daughter you are. What’s funny about things we acquire is that we forget we even have them until we go through them. She probably has all the things she wants because they are the ones she sees.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. My mom was a good mom, and she is very dear to me. I want to do all I can for her. It was touching to see some of the things she saved. Little things can mean so much! Have a good day!

      Like

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