In sixteen days, our adult college students/newlyweds, Abby and Chandler, are moving home. To OUR home. To start their marriage during a pandemic. While living with her parents. And that sounds fraught with danger, and also I’M SO EXCITED, and also-also, I hope I don’t mess this up.
On the bright side, we all really love each other and enjoy spending time together — they are, quite literally, two of my favorite people in the world — so HOORAY!
On the fraught side, we’re about to have ALL THE FAMILY TIME with NO ESCAPE so you can pray for them.
On the bright side, I will have five children back in my house, so HOORAY AGAIN!
On the fraught side, three of them are adults now, so this isn’t so much “parenting” as it is “transitioning” to the adult parent/child relationship.
On the bright side, we’ve been intentionally making that transition for years now, because we’re raising adults, not children, as my father always says, so this isn’t an abrupt change.
On the fraught side, we’re about to have new, full-time adult roommates, as opposed to holiday visitors, with all the usual adjustments that entails.
On the bright side, we are always charming and never annoying, so it should go smoothly.
On the fraught side, that last claim was a bald faced lie.
You see the issues.
There are, in other words, infinite sides to this plan. Infinite ways for it to be bright or fraught or, most likely, some of each since we’re all made out of human at my house, and humans are historically weird and wonky and wonderful — bright lights and fraught with turmoil, every single one.
But we do have a big advantage when it comes to having the adult children move home right now, which is the fact that they decided several months ago to live with us, so they’re going with the original plan rather than making a sudden, emergency decision due to the pandemic upheaval. With canceled graduations and weddings and honeymoons, it’s nice to have something go according to plan.
Now, you may be wondering why in the world married adults would choose to move home. And the answer is I DON’T KNOW BUT I THINK IT’S BECAUSE THEY’RE WEIRDOS. Which isn’t really true. I mean, they ARE weirdos — that bit is spot on — but I do actually know the answer. It’s because a) we said “you know, you’re always welcome to live with us,” b) we meant it, and c) they can pay off their student debt way more quickly if they’re not also paying for housing. Since their main financial goal is to get out from under that debt as soon as possible, they felt like it was an easy call.
Of course, that was when there were — at least ostensibly — jobs available. Now that we’re in this timeline, that whole Making Money and Paying Off Debt concept is a purely intellectual exercise. So… we’ll see what happens.
I’ve said before, including recently, that the way we do life according to the prescribed American Dream — that is, a house for each nuclear family of parents and children, separate from extended family or involved community — causes more harm than good. I mean, we did it. We raised our children that way. And we had involved grandparents and community, which makes us far, far more privileged than others. And we still barely survived it. I mean literally, physically we barely survived it, and also our marriage barely survived it, and I’m not even sure I can say we mentally survived it since the toll on my mental health was so high. It was agonizing. It was exhausting. It was overwhelming. And I understand there are schools of thought that say That’s Just How It Is … or, You Gotta Pay Your Dues … or, I Survived It So Now You Have To, Too. But, to me, that’s like saying I Was Lost at Sea in a Leaky Dingy in a Raging Storm and I Almost Drowned But That’s Just How You Have to Get From Point A to Point B, so GOOD LUCK, WISHING YOU ALL THE BEST, and LMK WHEN YOU ARRIVE. When, in fact, there are better ways to cross the ocean. Bigger, more stable, watertight boats. Better navigation. Weather reports. FLYING OVER IT.
That experience of child rearing plus the state of our economy (pre-pandemic) and the fact that my children are unlikely to have what Greg and I did when we started our adult life together — college degrees without enormous school debt, full time job offers before graduation, both with medical, dental, and vision benefits — we’ve known for a while that our children, as they become adults, may need to be in and out of our house as they establish themselves. Which is fine. We want to be a resource for them, and we truly do believe to our bones that no one should have to go it alone. We are ohana — family — and every Disney lover knows ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind.
I guess I just never imagined they’d want to live with us. Like, that it would top the list if they had other options, you know?
And as much as I, at the ripe old age of 46, think intergenerational living is the only thing that makes sense if you can do it in an emotionally healthy way, I didn’t figure my kids would agree.
I thought they’d pat me on the head, tell me I’m adorable, and do whatever they could to avoid moving home.
Nevertheless, here we are. They want to be here. We want them to be here. It is… oddly simple.
Abby and Chandler move home in 16 days, and it didn’t make any sense to me to have them set up in her old 10×10 childhood bedroom. Even though they‘re willing to be there, I feel like they need someplace they can retreat from the rest of us while they’re establishing their marriage.
So I came up with a Weird Solution. And then I told myself it would be dumb, and I shouldn’t do it. And then I reminded myself I LOVE doing dumb, weird things. It’s who I am. It’s what I live for.
And that’s how Greg and I moved out of the master bedroom and into the living room.
Because what is a living room for? That’s right — it’s for LIVING. Ours, however, was just sitting there, mostly unused.
It’s the room just inside the front door, and it’s smaller than the kitchen/family room which is where we spend all our group gathering time.
So even though I thought, it’s gonna be weird for guests to come over and… essentially walk straight into our bedroom,
I also thought, this house needs to FIRST work for our family and then, as space allows, for our guests.
And now that we’re home in isolation and no one can come over anyway, I’m more glad than ever that we’re using our house the way it works for US.
Abby and Chandler will be home soon. And I honestly can’t wait.
P.S. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THE CURTAIN SITUATION. I took those pics soon after we made the move. Greg was happy with the new space with the exception of the lack of doors. 😂 So approximately 25 minutes after we moved (or a few weeks… which is practically 25 minutes in Woolsey Time), Greg built us sliding barn doors.
I still have to paint them.
I’m thinking white like the trim?
But we HAVE doors, and they CLOSE, which was the main goal.
P.P.S. Obviously, I pulled up the covers on our bed for you. (You’re welcome.) But I didn’t actually make the bed for you or pick up the blankets in the hall or anything. That’s just the kind of friends we are. I regret nothing.