Allowing Ukrainian Refugees to Move in With Your Mother is the New Rorschach Test
It’s a win/win for both Mom and the family, but some friends aren’t so sure.
Tomorrow, a Ukrainian refugee family is going to move in with my 82-year-old mother. The story of how we got to this point is long and complicated. There’s a Ukrainian mother, a graphic designer by trade, and her two young children who made it to the Mexican border, and eventually to Fontana, California. (A place we Angelenos lovingly call “Fontucky.”) She assumed they would go back to Ukraine when the war was over, but then her husband called and said “our city is gone.” And so he escaped too.
Then there’s director of the assisted living facility where my father lives, who insists that my mother can only move in if she goes to the more expensive, “reminiscence neighborhood,” which is a nicely named jail for people with dementia. The facility decided that my mother had dementia because she didn’t remember that Trump had been President. “Oh, I repressed that,” when I asked her why should couldn’t remember. This is, of course, a hilarious answer. But they didn’t see it that way, and no matter how much I begged, cried and explained that my mother just needs to be with my father, to whom she has now been married for 60 years, the director will not budge.
So Mom is staying home. And in that sense, the director has underestimated me. She did not know that while she calmly told me that she has “ten years experience” (I’m sorry, but LOL millennial) and therefore was certain that my mother should be locked up, I was texting my acquaintance in Fontucky who has been helping this family for months, and asked hey, would Milia and her family like to live in Mom’s house, and take care of her in exchange?
And it turns out they would. And I feel good about it. Ever since I saw Robin Williams in Moscow on the Hudson, I’ve had a fascination with the refugee experience. I’ve always wanted to help, but was never sure how. The family has a one year old named Alice who, during our first meeting, shrieked with joy when she ran around the tree in our backyard. That morning I heard more reports of dead civilians in Odessa , and as I watched Alice make herself dizzy and giggle, I thought, This is the right thing…