For anyone who reads this blog – and let’s be honest, I don’t post often enough for many people to find their way here, and so it’s mostly my family and maybe a few friends – you may or may not know that my husband and I decided to move in with my parents for a time while we save up for a downpayment and deal with some pretty significant school debt (Ah, the joys of being a Millennial).
We also have a baby.
And my younger brother also lives at home.
And my parents just got an adorable Sheltie puppy they’re calling Flynn.
At any given time you’ll see 5 cars in the driveway. It’s a full house.
On several occasions this summer my mom filled up a kiddie pool in the yard and let my 2-year-old niece run around naked while she sat nearby on a lawn chair and looked benevolently on.
Just call us the Clampetts. Or the Tanners; maybe that’s a little more flattering. Growing up, I loved the show Full House. But, adults living under the same roof looks a little different than in a sitcom. The saccharine life lessons Danny imparts to his eager daughters at the end of every episode – with Uncle Jesse and Joey nodding amiably in the background – just don’t hold up in real life.
On the one hand it’s a little embarrassing to be living with my parents again. On the other hand, we’re so grateful to be able to save up much more quickly than if we were renting an apartment. And, we’re getting a taste of how much of the world lives. Our next-door-neighbors are Russian ex-pats, one of whom stopped my mom one day and asked, “Do you have many generations living here?”
“Yes,” my mom replied.
“I like this. This reminds me of my country.”
But, it’s not so much like this country. Or, maybe that’s just a perception. Perhaps it is happening here more and more; I do know of a few others who have trodden this path. Cumulatively, college graduates carry the burden of a $1.2 trillion dollar debt. Trillion. That’s 6% of the overall national debt, folks. Not a lie. Sometimes I feel like my debt makes up half of that. It might as well be $1.2 trillion for all the teensy dent I’ve made by pounding away at it over the last 5 years – or at least that’s what I think on my not-so-sunny days. With this heavy load weighing on the shoulders of my peers, I imagine many folks find themselves in a similar position. Or maybe not. Either way, it’s the decision we’ve made in order to move forward more quickly.
There’s even a name for this little adventure we’re on: multi-generational living.
Some people probably do it a little better than we do. We fumble along with a chore chart and splitting up weekly meals – but no one is as organized about life in general as my father, who makes and checks off lists for fun. We try, while he succeeds. With 5 adults, a baby, and a 15 week old puppy, it’s more like a frat house (but with more spit up and less alcohol), than a residential dwelling. But it’s good. For a lot of reasons.
Having a baby is a lonely affair. You’re caring for another person – but a person you have a lot of one-sided conversations with. I’m thankful to have company on days when my husband works long and unusual hours (which is a lot). I like having some extra hands if I’m feeling overwhelmed with Fox. I like sitting around a dinner table full of people. As introverted as I am, it’s nice to have people around to keep me grounded.
We could get to the end of the year and leave shaking the dust off our feet, bitter and resentful (on both sides). But, while I look forward to the day where my little family of 3, instead of 6, has a home of our own, I am thankful for these days. And I am so grateful to have amazingly generous parents who have opened their home to us, and who love on my baby so well. I hope I look back on this year as being sweet and full of life.