This post is part 3 of 4 in the series Grandparents: Celebrating a Legacy of Love.
When I was a teenager, if you would have told me I was going to have the kind of relationship with my parents that I do now, I would never have believed you. If you had told me I would come back home to live with them in my thirties, I might have laughed in your face.
Back then, in my teenaged brain, my parents were the meanest, most over-protective parents in the world. Okay, okay. Even then I knew there were meaner and more over-protective parents out there, but I was a teenaged girl and I was a little dramatic. I couldn’t wait to get out of the house and on my own. My high school years, especially after I turned 16 and got some wheels, consisted of working, working out, and having a full social life so I could be home as little as possible.
And yet, here I am, 36 years old, living with my two boys in the same house as my parents.
Although it isn’t ideal, it is working.
I think the shift in how I thought about my parents came after I had my first child. Boy, having kids changes everything, doesn’t it? I loved seeing my parents as grandparents, and I still do. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that they took me and the boys in when I was scared and penniless, going through a messy divorce as a stay-at-home mom. They did it without question, hesitation, or any sign of annoyance.
It was actually pretty funny, looking back now. You see, one of my sisters was also living at home at the time, and about to be married, so the boys and I were plopped into the mix in the months leading up to her wedding. It was really a great thing, surprisingly, and a good distraction, but holy moly, was that a chaotic time!
I also never thought that I would be living at home for this long. Eventually, I do want to have a place of my own, for myself and my kids, but for now, the benefits of multigenerational living outweigh the drawbacks. Apparently, I am not the only one who is in this situation. Over 57 million people are living in multigenerational homes in the United States, and that number is continuing to rise.
I will admit, I miss having my own kitchen. I miss my gadgets that are packed away in storage. And sometimes I get frustrated because it seems like there isn’t a place for everything. Oh, the first-world problems, right?
But, here are some things I love about our living situation:
- Because my monthly expenses are low, I can continue working part-time and be there for my kids more than if I had to work full-time.
- I can work out in the mornings or at night while the kids are in bed, knowing someone is there in the house.
- My kids really know their grandparents. They think Grandpa can fix anything. And there’s no one that spoils them like Grandma.
- My parents get monthly one-on-one time with each of my boys, to really deepen their bond and build special memories.
- My parents provide an example for my kids by showing their love for each other, their love for God, and how a marriage that has lasted for over 38 years works.
- I feel safe there. Coming out of an abusive marriage, it is super important that I have that feeling of safety for my own healing process.
- My parents are my biggest supporters, my best friends. They will pat my back when something goes well, put me in my place if I need it, and laugh with me so I don’t cry at some of the crazy things that get thrown my way.
All in all, living with my parents has been a blessing even greater than I would have imagined and a lot less challenging than one might think. It is definitely not for everyone, but as I’ve said, it’s working for us.
I have to end by saying this:
Happy Grandparent’s Day, Mom and Dad. Thanks for always being there for me, especially through my tough teenaged years and now, through the challenges of what life has given us. Thanks for being amazing grandparents for my boys. They love you so much. Thanks for being amazing role models for me and for my kids. My hope is that someday my kids will say that I have been half as great a parent as you guys have been to me. You two are amazing people, and I pray you feel celebrated and loved each and every day, but especially on Grandparent’s Day. Love you!
Read more from our Grandparents: Celebrating a Legacy of Love series:
- When Grandpa Is in Heaven: How to Celebrate Those We’ve Lost
- The Grandma Journey: An Interview with My Mom
- Interview with the Grandparents (coming up)