Cleo and Kae Reed on a hike at Table Mountain.

“You’ll never regret this decision.” That was what all my friends who had lived with their older parents or were their primary care-givers kept telling me as I was making plans to live with my mom.

It’s been a year since mom and I moved into our Chico home last March. Mostly, it’s been a fantastic experience.

Looking back at pictures it’s apparent alcohol played a role in our fun together. We have checked out a few breweries in the area, with Secret Trail the favorite so far. We are looking forward to another brewery opening this summer that will practically be in our neighborhood.

We’ve experienced local wineries, with more on the list to visit. Then there have been specialty cocktails that have been created in our kitchen, with the Honey Deuce taking top honors so far. We toasted with Prosecco on March 16, our one-year anniversary.

AJ would always hang out in the office, not always in her bed, but always left hair behind to clean up. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

While it may sound like a lot of imbibing, we spend most of our time outside being active. Walking is her norm, tennis and hiking (and a little cycling) are mine. What’s fantastic about our neighborhood is the network of walking trails that are next to two man-made lakes.

I had gotten rid of the bulk of my furniture when I packed up my Tahoe house and mom had things that fit a small apartment, so shopping was what we were doing at the get-go. Furniture all arrived late last year, so now we are set up for guests—to eat at a table that fits more than two, and a bed for overnighters.

Mom is the one who keeps the décor fresh, as well as is the main gardener. I do the bulk of the cooking and dishes. We split the cleaning.

She already had a friend base established, having lived in Paradise from 2007 until the town burned in 2018. After nearly 20 years in Lake Tahoe, I’ve had to do some outreach to find people closer to my age, which I’ve done through tennis and a great hiking group.

While we have enough of our own interests, it’s the shared time that is so precious. It’s having a meal together, watching something on TV and being able to talk about it, it’s playing games, it’s talking, it’s walking, it’s just knowing someone else is in the house that takes the edge off loneliness.

Kae and Cleo Reed on a trail cleanup day in Chico in 2021. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

On occasion we go on what we call excursions. It could be exploratory, it could be to check out a place one of us has heard about, it could just be a drive to get out of the house. They are always deposits in the memory bank.

Mom was great as I went through one of the most difficult things any dog mom has to do; knowing when the end is here. She isn’t a big fan of dogs that shed, and boy was AJ a shedder. In fact, I think I’ll be cleaning her hair up for as long I live in this house. And mom said that’s OK, and that just made me tear up.

Two days after AJ crossed the Rainbow Bridge, I was in the ER with mom. She was admitted to the hospital for five nights. She’s going to be OK. But one day she won’t be. I knew that going in. I just didn’t want it to happen in the first year. And it didn’t.

My friends were right. I don’t regret this decision to live with my mom.

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