Why I Wouldn’t Mind Moving Back In With My Parents

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I’m leaving my parents’ house tomorrow after spending almost a month here with my two kids. You might think I’d be excited to get back to my life, my house and my privacy. You’d be wrong. If it were up to me, if all of the variables were within my control, I would totally live with my parents for the rest of my life. Or at least next door to them. And before you go assuming that I’m joking or that it’s just about the free childcare, let me explain myself.

My parents and I have always been close. My mom and I fought like demons when I was eight and then again when I was a freshman in high school, but other than that we’ve had a very easy and loving relationship. My dad has been sitting on a pedestal somewhere in the stratosphere since I was a little girl, but through years of therapy and the natural effect of becoming your parents’ peer at some point, he now resides much closer to Earth and is no less adored. Their relationship is not perfect, we don’t always agree politically or religiously and it drives me bonkers that my dad won’t switch to lower fat ice cream after having heart bypass surgery, but in general, we do really well together.

Seeing my parents as grandparents has taken all the love and respect I have for them to a brand new level. I had no awareness when I was growing up of just how young my mom and dad were. My three siblings and I were all born before either of my parents turned 30, so in many ways, they grew up with us. Now they’re all experienced and wise and patient and it’s my kids (and my niece and nephew) who benefit. When she’s playing with my three-year-old daughter, I watch my mom use her imagination in ways that she was too self-conscious to do when I was a preschooler. My dad has always been a company man, so to speak, spending most of his time at work and thinking nothing of it. When I’m here at their house, I see the sad look in his eyes when he has to kiss my 15-month-old son bye-bye and walk out the door in the morning. The tears I feel leaking out of my eyes when he comes back home in the evening and scoops up my son, who’s always squealing with delight, are bittersweet. What a shame that I couldn’t see that same excitement when I was my little boy’s age, but what pure joy it is to witness my dad’s elation at this daily reunion with his grandson.

So like I said, if I could orchestrate the whole thing, I would. My mom would hang out with my daughter, Lio, while my son, Dash, took a nap. I would be free to write for a few hours. We’d take a trip to the grocery store or playground or library in the afternoon and I wouldn’t have to feel outnumbered two to one. We would plan a simple dinner for my dad to cook and then the happy scene I described above would take place when he arrived home. My parents are particularly fond of bath time (what’s cuter than freshly bathed babies? Nothing, that’s what), so they’d take the kids up to the bath while I cleaned the kitchen and maybe had a non-mom phone conversation with a friend or something. Our days would pass in this way – a simple life lived with the ease that can only come from being among family. I really don’t require much, and the way in which my soul is filled and lifted from seeing my kids with my mom and dad is almost enough.

Glaringly absent from this idyllic scene is my poor husband. (I love you, babe. I really do!) His interactions with Lio and Dash are also a requirement for my happiness and the only reason I’m able to envision this life with my parents is because he’s been away for a month (the touring musician thing rears its inconvenient head once again). Knowing he would be gone for a while, my dear old mom and dad opened their home and hearts. In walked their grown daughter, two children in tow, to disrupt their daily routine, litter their living room with toys and watch hours and hours of Nick Jr. on their television. It just couldn’t happen anywhere else. And I am so very thankful.

(Photo: Jupiterimages)