And then there were two of us – life with my grandpa
I knew my 30s would be like nothing I expected – after all, who can predict the future. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine my family unit would include an 88-year old roommate!
When I was an infant my mother moved to the United States in search of a better life and I was left in the care of my maternal grandparents. I lived in a rural town in the mountains of Peru, surrounded by cows, sheep, guinea pigs and exceptionally adoring parents.
At 9 my parents secured green cards and I was quickly moved to the US to start a life with my new parents. Granted they were not new but they sure felt like it because I had not lived with them before.
Throughout my teens and twenties – my biggest desire was to move to Peru and spend extended time with my grandparents. After years of trying, I eventually made that dream come true and spent 3 months in Peru in the height of Covid. They were the most blissful and joyful moments of my life. I returned to the US ready for more.
An unfortunate turn of events (and grief that consumed me) – forced my grandpa to move to the US. This man had visited once before in the early 2000s and was zero impressed by the tough winter. ZERO. It had been 20 years since his last visit.
Within months – my grandpa moved in with me. I always phrase it this way, “I do not live with my grandpa. My grandpa lives in my own house that I bought because I’m an adult.”
Can you tell I get in my head sometimes?
As my mom warned (she and I swap caretaking duties) – your life will turn upside. It did. In both difficult and delightful ways.
I HAVE GAINGED:
1. An advisor – He sees how much I work and is not shy to remind me that I need to take my breaks, walk, and take care of my eyes. He has lost most of his vision and warns me that no paycheck is worth exhausting my eyes.
2. A gym buddy – I recently started to take him to the gym so he gets out of the house & I have a personal trainer who counts my sets and motivates me.
3. A grief buddy – We don’t talk about my grandma often because he prefers it that way. His process and I have to respect that but it’s hard to see him without missing her. All the time. The pain has subsided but it’s ever present.
4. A person who tests my patience – I go from 0 to 100 quickly. The love I have for him has taught me to pause, love more selflessly, and understand him in his shortcomings. A perspective that I’ve not had with any other adult in my life before.
5. A daily reminder to appreciate my health – Where I used to take for granted that I can walk or dance easily, he reminds me to take advantage of my youth.
6. A friend – we joke a lot more than we did when I was a little kid. I tell him about my friends, pets, and occasionally about past relationships and it’s interesting to live this life as two adults building a life together, not just a grandpa and granddaughter.
The days are long as caretaker but the years are short.
It was not how I imagined it but he gave me what I was searching for — a little family of my own. Our own little unit.