"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

we DID go home again

When it looked pretty certain that our house was going to sell sooner than anticipated, we started looking for short-term rentals in our area that would bridge the three-month gap until our new house is complete. The pickings were slim and none in our immediate area allowed for Jake. We considered our options but ultimately decided that yes, he IS a good dog, and not yet ready for the proverbial Better Place Farm. I'm KIDDING! Of course we weren't considering getting rid of Jake! We love that dumb bed-eating, wasp-spray-licking doggo!

My parents had been offering their home for weeks but, to be honest, we hadn't actually considered taking them up on it. You don't just show up on your parents' doorstep with your three kids, your Weimaraner, and every Lego set your kids have ever assembled (that couldn't be put in storage for fear of damage) and expect to be welcome to stay for three months.

But we did! Of course we were welcome and, once they convinced us that we wouldn't be imposing and we wouldn't be cramping their new-found empty nest lifestyle, we packed our bags (and gave each and every Lego construction the White Glove treatment, transporting each by hand) and Moved Back In With My Parents.

It's been really funny to see the reactions we get when we tell people about our new living situation. Most of my friends have given me the raised-eyebrow, eyes wide open, fake smile and said in a voice just a touch too high-pitched, "Well, I'm sure it will be fine! It's only temporary!" Others have flat out rolled their eyes and said, "Better you than me!" A few have asked, "Oh my god. How does Sam feel about that?!"

I smile and agree that, yes, it WILL be fine...we have some travel planned during the next three months, as do my parents, so we'll give each other breaks. I comment that Sam was, of course, a pretty big part of the decision-making process (and he gets along so well with my family) so he feels great about it...and then I think about my friends who think we're taking a huge risk by moving back in with my parents...as if we're going to end up not speaking to each other by the end of the summer or something...and I realize how lucky I am.

My parents are really easy to live with. Maybe it's because they raised eight kids in a modest 1960s split level, so noise, activity, and Kid Stuff strewn around don't seem to bother them. Maybe it's because they're both still so busy...logging a full work week at my brother's restaurant even in their "retirement," in addition to tackling home improvement projects on their days off. Maybe it's the fact that, with their youngest kids not long out of college, they never really settled too deeply in the empty nest stage of their lives. Maybe it's that, as parents of eight and grandparents of ten, their Mental Load is so full, they can only look but so far over any one person's shoulder at any given time before their emotional energy is pulled in a different direction....I never feel as though they're watching me as I parent or as I "adult" with any judgment or criticism. I know not all of my friends feel that way about their own relationships with their parents.

It's only been a bit over a week, but we feel really good and settled here. In some ways, it feels like we've been here forever. The kids are enjoying the neighborhood playground right outside the front door, where friends congregate in the afternoons and where they can blow off some steam after dinner. I'm enjoying the fact that we are comfortably living in two (and a half) bedrooms and one (and a half) bathroom. Soooooo much less to clean. There has been a hiccup though....we all kind of feel like we're on vacation here, like we left our real life responsibilities behind with our old house....I'm needing to consciously remind myself to check school folders and we've been known to scramble to finish homework the morning it's due.... Maybe it's not due to the fact that we're living here, though. Maybe we're just in the spring slump of trying to drag ourselves across the finish line of this school year.....I don't know if I've ever been more ready for June than I am this year.

In addition to feeling like I'm on vacation, I'm enjoying spending real life time with my parents. Even though they've lived in our neighborhood for the past couple of years, we haven't spent tons of time together. We're all busy! Here, we catch up in the afternoons, eat dinner together, sit around and watch Shark Tank after Max and Molly go to bed...Max and my mom spent an hour reading on the porch yesterday...independently but together. Last week, I relied on my mom's Doctor Mom skills in addition to her expertise as a former pediatric nurse, to coach me through Molly's scary high fever. My dad is already up when my kids wake up....and quick with the Dad Jokes all the live long day. My mom helped Evan gather materials for a school project (all of our crafty stuff is in storage) and my dad taught him how to change the blade in a razor cutter so he could cut the necessary cardboard. My parents are a captive audience for every "Guess what happened in school today!" story and do a pretty good job of feigning interest in Fortnite recaps, too.

And...they cook for us.

They're pretty much the greatest.

Lesson Learned:
While I realize how fortunate I am to have the kind of relationship with my parents that I have, one that allows me to so easily and comfortably live with them for an extended amount of time...I do realize that the story I just told is one-sided. To my siblings: I'm pretty sure you all placed bets on when the honeymoon period would end...I can't wait to see who takes the pot when Mom and Dad confess to you how over this they are.