Mom stayed for 5 weeks, although we were hoping for longer, somewhere between 3 months and the rest of her life.
I know that it’s selfish, wanting my mom to move from Vancouver back to her roots in Budapest to start her retirement with us, but I cannot help it.
The last time i saw her is when I visited for two weeks three years ago, and before that she visited us in France for six weeks when we first moved there in 2011. Other than that we Skype each other when her connection is good, which is not so often as she lives on the bottom floor of an old building and her apartment is half underground and the WiFi connection doesn’t always get through the thick concrete walls.
I imagine her new life with us; her helping us out with the teenagers and their busy schedules, going from horseback riding, to tutors, to Parkour, to piano lessons, to guitar lessons, to school and to parties… But I also imagine her living among her family in Bakonysárkány, maybe a little farmhouse with stone walls, and a garden for chickens and maybe even a dog and a cat to keep her company. It is only an hour and fifteen minutes away from us to the beautiful Hungarian countryside of my ancestors at the bottom of the Bakony mountains, on a small wooded ridge where 950+ people live, many of whom I am related to as both sides of my small family are from this village.
We starting looking for a little home during her stay, one that we could fix up, with maybe two bedrooms, a small kitchen, a little basement… and we did find a pink one right across from my aunt Ili’s house. Granted it needs some work, a new Ikea kitchen immediately, perhaps a fresh coat of stucco on the outside, and paint inside but it could be something that mom can build up over the years, something to invest into and call her own.
Of course living here would mean leaving my brother and his kids in Vancouver. My niece is married with a child now and my nephew is 25 years old with a steady job, but my brother has a younger family too, with a 10 year old boy up in 100-Mile-House. Also my mom has a circle of friends and family, including my uncle and aunt, their two daughters, and their grandchildren as well. She is very much a part of their lives. SO leaving is not so simple after living in Canada for nearly 50 years.
The biggest benefit of mom moving home would be finances. Vancouver is frick’en expensive, and retirement would not cover all the costs of having the much-needed car, insurances, gas, extended medical, hydro, heating, telephone, cable, food, clothes… a lifestyle that costs over $2500 per month just to survive. I mean in the land of $2000 rental suits in basements makes you wonder what the world is coming to!
Our house in Solymár is big and mom would have a permanent room with us, and she can travel back and forth via train whenever she wants to the country. She would also reconnect with friends and family who live here. She would be part of country life helping with my second cousins children, their animals, and their festivals; all the things that brought us back to Hungary year after year. It was a big reason for us moving back, those traditions, those celebrations, and that community feeling. I could see mom being very happy here.
But big decisions must be made to suit my mom. She has a big decision to make. She can spend the next ten years working full time at Costco to get by, or she can move here and live a modest life resting and enjoying. It sounds like an easy decision unless you are making the change. A person who has been working for 45 years and doesn’t know what it feels like to truly rest and be calm might find the idea alone uncomfortable. Even when we stopped working to move to France it was a huge adjustment, and that was only after 20+ years of working full-time. We had to relearn how to enjoy and not stress, we had to keep reminding ourselves not to feel guilty for enjoying our lives. It would only be harder for mom.
No matter what happens, I know my mom will be ok.
While she was here we visited family, invited them over for a big BBQ party, we visited the city, and just enjoyed each others company. We laughed, and we cried. The best part was watching her reconnect and make her bonds to the children again. Especially Angelina, who carefully watched her cook and bake, the two went shopping together and they are very much alike. This is what I want. For them to have a grandmother again.