The last couple months have presented some financial challenges for our tiny family unit. The three of us have made decisions that place us in a different kind of living situation–we share space with my parents. It’s not the first time my husband, John, and I have chosen this route. It is, however, the first time we’ve done it with a child. The constant for our decisions emanate from our family values, which drive our need to help our parents and vise-a-verse, as issues present themselves.
We both come from backgrounds where we learned family is priority. As kids, we didn’t participate in much beyond our family gatherings, like after school clubs, sleep overs, and team sports. Rather, weekend outings, vacations, and competition were kept within our family and fostering individuality was at the forefront. I say that is true for the most part. We certainly had our extended family and friends in our lives and they played a large role — just on our turf.
I’m honored for the closeness my parents coveted for us kids. John shares the same values and as an only child, his dynamic was much different from having four siblings to haggle with on a daily basis. His energies spilled into individual sports, where he was a successful ski racer through college. Together, we innately pass our value system to our son.
There’s value to be discovered with challenging times in life, as it builds a stronger family unit. For now, we cope daily with the trivial frustrations, like the varying degree of cleanliness, dietary demands, and schedules from each part of the family. While my parents get up at 3:00am to converse, which entails a political dissertation delivered by my father and followed by meaningful chatter–John, my son and I are trying to sleep. I savor the late afternoons to prepare a family meal with the help of my eight year old son while sipping wine, it develops into a cornucopia of food–much too late for my parents‘ taste. None of us stand our ground. We do complain at times, but generally we flex. We cope. We roll with it. For the alternative would drive us apart. And right now, we need each other.
These kinds of situations don’t present themselves within the boundaries of classroom walls. These life lessons teach family bonds…their purpose, their strength, their love and the ability to to roll with the punches of life.
Mom, Educator at Home