Today marks a pretty momentous occasion. After five years of trying to sell her house, my mother-in-law is finally moving from the Midlands to the same town, to be closer to us. In a lot of ways I can't quite believe the day has finally come, and whilst I know this is a good move overall, I can't help but feel a certain amount of trepidation at how this might change things.
My husband is an only child whose parents divorced when he was seven, and he's had little contact with his father, so in many ways my mother-in-law is very independent and self-sufficient. However, I think the whole process of this move, now that it has finally arrived, has brought with it the realisation of how much more dependent on us she will be once she has settled in. I suddenly find myself weighed down by feeling a great deal of responsibility for her happiness. We are the reason she is moving. We are the reason she is leaving the house she has lived in for 35 years. We are dragging her somewhere strange, where the only people she knows are us and my parents. Whether I am being overdramatic or not remains to be seen, I suppose, but it's certainly true that she will need to rely on us a lot more than she has done up until now.
My parents, who made a similar move around five years ago, have each other, and while they too were in a similar position of moving somewhere where they did not know anyone other than us, I can imagine it is a lot less daunting to "start over" in a strange place when you have a partner to do it with.
Despite the fact that all three of them are sprightly and travel the world, this move has also brought home the fact that they are ageing. Given family history, there is a good chance they'll be energetic and dynamic for a good 15 years or so yet, but somehow having all of them close by has made me so much more conscious of the fact that this might not be the case. Coupled with the fact that the first of our close group of friends recently lost a parent, and it seems I've got mortality on the brain. It's stating the bleeding obvious that none of us are getting any younger, but I confess the prospect of having to look after both children AND parents in future is a frightening one.