I believe in families– the extended kind, that include young and old and in-between; families that have a place for each person’s weakness and each person’s contribution.
I believe we weren’t meant to live in seperate houses with each generation struggling alone. I believe it makes no sense for grandparents to struggle with loneliness while young parent’s feel overwhelmed. I am fortunate that my family agree with me.
My son, his wife, thier four children and I share a home. They didn’t take me in because I was incapable of living alone and I didn’t take them in because they were incapable of raising their children. No one is a martyr….we chose to do this becasue it made sense.
Our house bursts with life-3 dogs, 3 cats, a hampster, a fish, 4 kids, a mentally challenged adult, 2 parents and me. Most days are a delight. Some days take lots of patience. Everyday is full of people’s quirks & needs. And, there’s always someone to talk to.
We generate mountains of laundry, eat lots of food, make alot of mess and enjoy each others company. Some days the children, who can bring me to tears with their loving innocence, can make me want to pull out my hair in frustration at their squabbles. Sometimes the same children who run to greet me with generous enthusiasm, chafe at having a third adult monitor their behavior. Sometimes my wonderful daughter-in-law must feel that the extra pair of hands is too meddlesome and bosy.
We’ve all had to learn or relearn some basic lessons:
You share your stuff because it’s more fun to have someone to play with than to play alone…
You take turns because you wouldn’t like it if others always got their way…
You assume the best about each other and give the benefit of the doubt because that’s what you’d want in return….
and maybe most importantly, if you can laugh others will generally join you.
This project, in the planning for three years, was a leap of faith in our love for each other, our values and in our combined strength to manage whatever challenges come our way.
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