Since You Asked…

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Dear Caroline,

My mother is a 57-year-old widow. Last summer, she met a man I’ll call Roger and underwent a complete personality change. Last week, when we were at her house for Sunday dinner, she had lavender-colored streaks in her hair and served us pizza because she didn’t feel like cooking. Yesterday afternoon, she called and told me she wanted to put her house up for sale so she could store her belongings in Roger’s house and travel around the world with him! When I reminded her that I grew up in that house and was counting on dropping my kids off on weekends, she laughed and told me to “get a life.”

What can I do?

…Resenting Roger

Dear Resenting,

You didn’t say anything about Roger himself that sounds troubling. Since you had counted on dropping your kids off in your mother’s care, I have to assume she’s of sound mind. From your vantage point, your mother, at 57, may seem old enough to belong in a rocking chair, but her self-perception differs.

If saving the family home is important to you, maybe you or another family member can arrange to rent or buy it. The other possibility could be that you help your mother find a tenant and act as her property manager while she’s off on her big adventure. However, real estate prices are up, and she may want this opportunity to cash out.

Your mother’s life belongs to her, and she’s allowed to call the shots and do whatever makes her happy. The best thing you can do is encourage lots of communication between your children and their globe-trotting grandma. Her joie de vivre and stories from around the world stand to enrich them far more than her presence in the kitchen.

Here’s to thoroughly modern grandmas!


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