Our family - 1992ish - Brian on the left; Alex on the right

Our family – 1992ish – Brian on the left; Alex on the right

Multi-Generational Living

When my boys grew up and moved out I went through a few years of wondering how to redefine myself. Not because I’d lost myself in being a parent; but because I LOVED being a parent and now there wasn’t anyone left to parent.

The oldest son lived about 10 minutes away but as is his style, he didn’t come home often and we weren’t invited over. It’s not that he doesn’t love us, he does, it’s just he wanted to exert his independence and we let him. The youngest went off to college on the other side of the state and I got used to looking forward to the holidays and summer when he’d come home to live with us. But after a while he started staying in the college town or staying with his girlfriend in another city too far from home.

Those years were hard for me. Then we got word that the youngest, Alex, wanted to move home after his internship in Mississippi. I wrote about his homecoming and the way our society looks down upon multi-generational families living together; as if the only reason to do so is out of desperation and not out of choice and my frustration with the stigma attached to adult children living at home. It’s been a few months since then so I thought I’d take a moment to update the blog with what’s happening here.

My boys - Alex on the left; Brian on the right - they had pics take for my 50th birthday present

My boys – Alex on the left; Brian on the right – they had pics take for my 50th birthday present (last year 🙂

Alex’s girlfriend moved in with us in October of 2011 and then he joined us in December, and they’ve been here now for 8 months. They’ve taken over the two “kids'” bedrooms and have brought with them a housecat named Sam who’s quite the charmer and a bit of a hellion. Both my son and his girlfriend work full-time , but Alex’s job is a temporary position – something he wouldn’t be able to do if he wasn’t living here. It’s a stepping stone on his career path and we’re happy to help him make choices based on long-term goals and not on paying this month’s rent.

We’ve managed to live in peace now all this time and through my dog’s cancer diagnosis and the annoyances that came with it (like him ruining our couch and love seat so we currently have nowhere to sit in the living room) and we’ve become accustomed to four adults sharing a refrigerator which can get quite messy at times, but we’re about to take on a whole new responsibility and it’s one we’ve started preparing for this week… the oldest is moving home. He too works full-time but he wants to save the money he pays in rent to make a hefty down payment on his own place. Again, we’re happy to help him make his dreams come true.

Still, as happy as we are to help our kids out, that’s five full-sized, living and breathing adults in one tiny three bedroom house. I know I said I missed my kids, but wow!

So as we prepare by moving my office upstairs and the couple downstairs and get rid of the 25-year stash of “kids” stuff stored in the garage, I have to giggle a bit – it’s my fault. I put it out there to the universe that I missed being a mom and the universe delivered. I guess I’m glad it did it this way and not by a new baby – that may have been too much.

Wish us luck as we start on this new journey as a family and if you have a vacation home we can borrow the hubby and I would appreciate it! 🙂