DS1 and his family have been living with us since late September 2014. Other than talking about the move itself (from southern South Carolina to mid-Michigan), I haven't blogged much about the whole living-with-an-adult-offspring-and-their-family situation we've been in. It's had it's pros, and it's cons. I think, for the grandchildren, mostly pros. But for the four adults involved (me, DH, DS1 and K2) I think maybe the cons have outweighed the pros. Other than DS1 and K2 now being on their fourth straight semester of school (which I think is a record for K2, who started and stopped college several times in SC), there doesn't seem to have been a whole lot of recognizable positives from living with us. Or, at least, not many things they admit. There have been a lot of complaints, and, from at least one of them, increasingly sulky teen-like behavior, in the last four or five months. We're not looking for thank-yous. But to listen to more and more complaints, when the terms were all spelled out pre-moving in with us and agreed to by all parties, gets to be a little much. (Terms like clean up after yourself and your kids; take care of your kids; be in school full-time. . . )
But now that living situation is coming to an end. For good or bad (good for DH and I, we believe; but timing-wise probably bad for DS1 and K2), they have signed a lease on a place of their own about 5 miles away, and will be moving out this week.
It will be good for DH and I to have our home to ourselves. It is not easy living with your adult 'children'. It's hard not to give unsolicited advice, but it's even harder to enforce the rules of the household--rules that we've had for the nearly twenty-five years we've been a household--when the other adults in the home are ignoring them. Or flat-out defiantly refusing to follow them. I mean, you can't ground a twenty-something or take away their cell phone or computer like you can a child or a teenager when they don't do their agreed upon chores. Or leave lights on for 10 hours when no one is home to need light. Or disregard an unfinished task they had volunteered to do. Or clean up after themself and their children. Or, heck, ignore their children while playing games/Facebooking on their phone. Plus, our monthly expenses will be less (it is unbelievable how much our basic utilities jumped when DS1 and co. moved in).
DH and I, however, are not so sure their moving out right now is a good thing for them, both short term and long term. Their rent/utilities/etc will be 400% to 500% what they were while living with us (and they rarely paid us on time for the token rent we charged to help offset our additional costs in having them live with us). Plus they will now have to do all of their own cooking and cleaning. And go to school full time while both working full time (to afford the rent/utilities on the new place). Plus, with a twelve month lease newly signed, DS1 will not be able to transfer away to an engineering school in the fall once he's finished all the pre-engineering classes the local community college offers.
As parents and grandparents, we're quite worried that one or both DS1 and K2 will drop out of college after this semester (or, worse, during this semester they just started last month). We're worried that they will get behind on their rent and get evicted, needing to move back in with us (and putting a bad mark on their credit). We're worried that the grandkids' needs are going to get lost in the increased responsibilities of their parents (work + school + housekeeping + homework + taking care of children).
So what is a Mama to do? (Meaning me, of course)
Do not give my opinion unless expressly asked for it.
Not burn bridges. Let them know that we are here for them (even though we think moving out right now is a disastrous idea).
Pray. A lot. Near constantly. Trust that the Lord is watching and guiding them. Pray, pray, pray.
Think positive. Think of how much less housekeeping I will now have to do. And how much less cooking. Think of how much less crowded and cluttered my house will feel once their belongings are out of it. Think of how I will now have the ability to go in and out of certain rooms without unlocking doors or climbing over a baby gate. Think about now having the ability to leave projects-in-progress out in my workspace instead of having to stash them safely out of little hands' reach after every single time I do a little more work on said project.
Realize that it is finally here: My empty nest. The thing I have dreamed of, and looked forward to. Twenty-six years (plus a few months) of having my children at home is now concluded. Now is the time to fondly look back on the longest phase of my life thus far, and joyfully step into the next phase.
Despite my doubts about DS1 & K2 being ready to move out, I am looking forward to being an empty nester. I have never been an adult without children in my home (that's what happens when you are 17 yrs and 11 months old when the first one is born). DH and I, in all the years we've been together, have never been 'just the two of us' (being as we met when DS1 was 14 months old).
I'm ready . Bring it.