Then I held him: How 20 minutes away became upstairs-downstairs

After my recent piece about our living arrangement in the Boston Globe, I heard from a number of people considering similar moves. Kathleen Shine Cain and her husband, Jim, will be joining their daughter and family in the vertical equivalent of across-the-hall living. With some of the schlepping and unpacking already underway, Kathy took a moment to tell the first installment of their story here:

People often toss around terms like “life-changing” to describe significant experiences. But, oh, this was life changing. It was the evening of February 19, 2012, and my husband, Jim, and I were in the Birthing Suite at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. The “him” was Declan Van Hagen Arnold, to whom our daughter (our only child) had given birth several hours before.

Unlike many friends in our age group, I hadn’t been in any rush to have grandchildren. Shannon and Ryan had lived in Somerville, just outside Boston, and we enjoyed traveling down from our New Hampshire home on weekends, attending urban festivals, dining out, and visiting pubs. Had they never decided to have children, I think I would have been fine with that—life was good. When they announced Shannon’s pregnancy in June 2011, I was excited—but more for them than for me. As the months wore on and I became accustomed to the idea of having a grandson, I was glad that we’d moved to North Andover and they’d moved to Wakefield: We were only twenty minutes away and would be able to spend lots of time with the new family. Continue reading