Southern Indiana Living

JAN-FEB 2018

Southern Indiana Living magazine is the exclusive publication of the region, offering readers a wide range of coverage on the people, places and events that make our area unlike any other. In SIL readers will find beautiful photography, encouraging s

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Jan/Feb 2018 • 9 M y son and his family just built a beautiful, roomy home. It sits in my backyard. They moved out of a house next door. My daughter now lives there. Yes, my two children are my two closest neighbors. No, I am not on the verge of hara-kiri. I get why you might wonder, though. With my family and with yours, there are ideals and there is reality. We thrive occasionally and we survive. For beĴer or for worse, in sickness and in health, the Moss family is in it together. And we have history on our side. Your family will get through today and tomorrow one way, mine another. You might not see your children again until next Christmas. I could see mine by noon. Am I lucky? Are you? A judge told me about a woman in drug court who would not complete the requirements. She was as dead set on fail- ure as she seemed capable of success. The judge asked questions and realized some- thing. The woman finds a home in court that she does not find, well, at home. The court staff had become this woman's only family. We all need family. For my family, in our circumstance, relationships are routine. Caring comes with the territory. LiĴle is planned. Much may be taken for granted. We catch up while geĴing the mail and cuĴing the grass. We know one another's business, with or without much effort. Like I still have business worth knowing. "Modern Family" works on TV now like "Leave It to Beaver" did then. The na- ture of family changes as often as the price of unleaded at Thornton's. Grown chil- dren move back in with Mom and Dad. Children become their parents' parents and grandparents step in and raise grand- children. Trying does maĴer. Put down the electronic gizmo and try harder. Wiped out by a stroke, my father's father spent his final months in a nursing home. His roommate, a terrific guy, rarely saw fam- ily. Too many residents never did. In what world is that excusable? I cherish memories with Poppy. I love that I came from a family that re- spects family. AĴending back-to-school nights and the kids' ballgames was not a chore. My parents agreed. They apologized like cra- zy when they begged off when my junior high team played in Henryville. Too far. Good thing South Bend was not on the schedule. Living a stone's throw from my children makes it easier to help but also to meddle. I can makes things beĴer or worse. It's up to me. I cannot run away and join the circus. Barnum & Bailey went out of busi- ness. My great-great grandparents moved to Southern Indiana from Kentucky. They bought farmland and built a home in 1861 overlooking the Ohio River. They must have made life there look good. My greatgrandparents and grand- parents and parents went on to live in the same house, and so did I. Again, be it charming or creepy, tradition is my fam- ily's past, present and future. While most families scaĴer, mine has not known any beĴer than to hang to- gether. For a while, my daughter lived a whole half-mile away. She might as well have been in Henryville. She either has returned to her senses or totally has lost them. Living in essentially the homestead annex — now my daughter's home — my son's family ran out of space. What was not overrun by Barbies and Legos was overrun by laundry. The family had op- tions. It could have bought a charming place in a subdivision with other liĴle chil- dren and no hovering kin. But here they are, my son and his wife and my grandchildren, having re- enlisted for more of family life our way. Being close can feel too close, all right. Will the good outweigh the bad in the Moss compound? I like our odds. My children are not bashful about leaning on their parents. I am as proud of that as anything. Parenting is lifelong. Du- ties change. Commitment cannot. I am a young old man. I am not of dying age. But neither were my parents when they passed. I was their next-door neighbor when they needed me most, and I tried my best. My children do not choose to live where they do so they can check up on me, but it's cool how it's all turned out. I hope my children agree. I believe they will try. It is how they were raised. It is a Moss thing and, thank God, it goes on and on. • After 25 years, Dale Moss retired as Indiana columnist for The Courier-Journal. He now writes weekly for the News and Tribune. Dale and his wife Jean live in Jeffersonville in a house that has been in his family since the Civil War. Dale's e-mail is A Note to Baby Boomers The Family Ties That Bind My great-great grandparents moved to Southern Indiana from Kentucky. They bought farmland and built a home in 1861 overlooking the Ohio River.

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