The kids and I moved back in with my parents in February, 2012, after insurance had denied our claim from the fire.
Jordyn was 3 1/2, Max had just turned 2, and Kennedy was just 3 months old.
I was nervous about how it would all work out. My mother and I haven’t always seen eye to eye. We’re so completely opposite and yet, exactly the same. Seriously, how was this ever going to work?
Mom & Joe got the house ready before we moved in. They got Max an adorable toddler bed. Little drawers were ready for the kids’ clothes. Closets and cabinets were cleaned out: for clothes, for food, for toys…for what little we had, they provided a space and a place.
We pulled into the driveway on a rainy Sunday and began to unload. It was awful. How can I be back here again? How am I supposed to live in my parent’s basement as a married woman with 3 small children? How can I get by without Brian and his rocksteady support during the week? Will Jordyn and Max be alright sleeping 2 floors up from me? Who will help them when nightmares or stomach bugs strike in the dark of night? Will they be ok without Daddy? Will I? Will Kennedy recognize him when he comes “home” on weekends?
It was an adjustment at first. We all needed to get into the rhythm of a new routine. We needed to find the right groove.
The “rules” for Bubbe & Zayde’s needed to change because we weren’t just here for a holiday or a weekend visit. Certain food items needed to be tossed except for really real special occasions. Jumping on and off beds and sliding down the banister would have to be curtailed.
It was frustrating. I felt like there were times I couldn’t parent my own kids the way I wanted. I felt like Mom was over stepping her boundaries and trying to parent for me. I felt like I was being watched and judged. And that I was doing the same. I felt like we were invading and taking over.
I held my breath when Mom reprimanded my children for acting out. I was pissed when she rewarded them with cookies for no reason whatsoever, knowing that once the sugar took effect, bedtime would be a nightmare.
I was relieved when she called to say that I was on my on my own for dinner and bedtime, free to do it all my way. Yet, when the time came, annoyed that she wasn’t there to help.
And exhausted…my goodness, so unbelievably, bone tired, exhausted.
And so was Mom. In addition to working a full day, running an entire agency, she was helping Jordyn and Max at night when they woke in fright at 12, 2, 3 & 5am. And she was getting them dressed and fed in the morning so I could tend to Kennedy. And taking them to school. And helping with the evening routine of dinner, bath, books and bed.
Mom and Joe traveled to the shore on weekends not only to give us our own family space but also to catch up on their own, well needed, rest…
As the year went on, it became easier. There was a fluidity and rhythm that took over. There was an understanding and a sense of comradery and support, both spoken and silent.
Routines became routine. I learned to loosen my reigns and learn from an experienced pro. Mom learned some new school techniques and added them to her expertise. There was patience, understanding, respect, and bonding.
Weekends were spent doing family things together. Time became a valuable treasure. Communication was imperative and open, (and technologically advanced). We learned the true meaning of quality.
Mom and Joe have gotten to see the kids grow up before their eyes. They have seen Kennedy grow through each stage from newborn to toddler. Mom potty trained Max and painted Jordyn’s nails. They garden together, take long walks around the ponds together, feed the horses together, laugh & sing & dance together, play & tickle together, have grown together, and have made so many memories…together.
I am so very glad that during this uncertain time, we have had such an amazing opportunity and incredible experience.
Thank you, Mom & Joe, who helped make your house our home.