As of right now there are four generations of my family living in the same house with me. My grandmother (Nannie), my parents (Nana Mama and Pop Pop), myself and my husband (me and Q), and then our three kids (D, S, and T). That’s EIGHT people. And FIVE dogs. And FOUR fish. And a turtle, but only one of those. We have morphed into a crazy hybrid village/herd family unit.
When we first started living together, it was a really tough adjustment for everyone involved. They helped us move from California to Virginia (stressful), stopped in Georgia to get their stuff (stressful), Q had to go BACK to California for several months to finish school (stressful) and that left me, my mom, my dad, my little brother (16 y.o. at the time) and the one year old twins to get moved into and settled into the house. I think that started Q off in a weird place because when he finally got to Virginia for good, it probably felt like he was moving into my and my parent’s house, not OUR house.
Getting used to living with your parents again is super weird, or in my husband’s case: your parents-in-law. I can imagine that getting used to living with your child again is pretty trippy too. We got into a tentative comfort zone for several months, but then I was diagnosed with cancer about a year after our move. This meant I was pretty much out of commission in many aspects, so my parents (thankfully) took over a lot of my “jobs”. I think that’s what made it the hardest for Q, he felt like we weren’t a family anymore. On top of his wife getting cancer, having an ovary removed, a port placed and starting chemotherapy while he was still juggling two-year old twins… everything was just so insane that I think Q felt like he was losing the family he had worked so hard to create with me.
After a second move (post-chemo, remission AND the surprise post-chemo baby’s birth) Q did have to leave for Africa which gave him a chance to miss everyone. In his absence the baby has gotten older, I have gotten stronger and so much healthier, my parents, me, and the kids have all been able to get more into a rhythm that makes things feel a little more natural. It feels more like we thought it would when we decided to combine households. Both my parents work and still help me out a ton with the kids, they augment my parenting. They’re still grandparents to my kids but they reinforce rules and are extra hands and eyes when I need them. They help me out when I have appointments or for school pick-ups and drop-offs. I also help them in different ways, my dad can’t drive (he’s the blind ninja I have written about before) so I help get him to and from work and he gets T off the bus most of the time. I get groceries (read: order through Shipt or Instacart) or run errands, and it’s reciprocal.
Now we have added Nannie to the pack. She lived with us when my brother was little and so I’ve missed her since she moved out! She helped take care of me and K and I have some hilarious memories with Nannie. Like playing rummy at the kitchen table, or when she went with me to get my second ear piercing and she ended up getting them too! Or when my little brother said “Oh my gosh… shit” (read that last word as 2-4 syllables) every single time he saw a present one Christmas morning. Apparently he was listening when we got in a car accident a week or two before… and that’s what Nannie said when it happened. Now it’s our turn to help take care of Nannie and I really don’t mind. I hope someone loves me as much as I love ALL of my grandparents. I wish we lived closer to the rest of my family, but I’ll have to settle for Facebook creeping :0)
My kids LOVE LOVE LOVE having Nana Mama and Pop Pop here with them. Declan can say ‘Pop Pop’ and ‘Namama’ and he makes a beeline for my dad’s lair (yes, lair. Most people just call it the laundry room but he has a recliner and all his vaping equipment and stuff set up in there too. So it’s a lair… or a vaping den) every time we go downstairs. I had a great relationship with all of my grandparents, and even my great grandparents! I treasure those memories and those people helped shape me into the person I am today. I know it’s messy and insane and kind of a pain sometimes (love y’all) but I think it’s actually pretty awesome most of time!
As always, I have no idea what I am doing!
P.S. I tried to find pictures of my grandparents and great grandparents, but they are not easily accessible since they are not on a computer… so I may try to add them later… we’ll see.