Multi-generational headaches, heartaches and everything in between
March 27, 2010|Comments (9)
We have all heard the recent reports. About 6.6 million U.S. households in 2009 had at least three generations of family members, an increase of 30 percent since 2000, according to census figures. When “multigenerational” is more broadly defined to include at least two adult generations, a record 49 million, or one in six people, live in such households, according to a study recently released Thursday by the Pew Research Center
Pan and I moved “back home” in December 2008 for a number of reasons. I had had it with living in the big apple and longed for a simpler life. I had also recently closed a business enterprise after mounting debt and an uncertain future got the better of my team. Pan and I were preparing to get married and knew we wanted to be further south in the area we both grew up in.
Our options were few as I had no job, she only had seasonal employment, we had no worldly possessions to speak of and the economy wasn’t allowing for really any loans to help us get back on our feet. Thankfully my folks were only two years into their new home – a 3200 square foot, custom built home in rural, middle Georgia. They welcomed us with open arms and before long we had assimilated into our own semi-private part of the house.
I found a job. Pan found a little rest from the uncertainty of our previous lives. My folks enjoyed having us around. Pan took up shop in the kitchen creating amazing meals for the whole family. I made myself available to help my dad around the yard and farm area. Things were working out well for all involved.
By mid-winter though the reality started setting in. Pan and I had moved back home and began to feel like we were mooching at times. We just didn’t have a lot and most of our income went to paying down debt. We often expressed our sense of disappointment and fear to each other. She wanted to be closer to the water. Having grown up minutes from the Atlantic she felt landlocked and shell-shocked. I was working almost 60 hours a week and felt sorry for myself and like I was unable to provide for my wife. The heartache had begun to set in. “Lord,” we would pray, “show us our path. Give us some guidance. It isn’t easy and we just don’t know where we fit in.” At time the notion of being under someone else’s roof would overwhelm us and we would bicker with each other. But other problems were starting to surface.
Two couples. One house. While we had our privacy it seemed we were never alone and for newlyweds…well, that can be tough. My folks are so respecting of our privacy and our schedules but being their kid there are time when I don’t want to help my Dad. There are time when my mother does nag me. I am sure there are times when we don’t want to share our business with my folks and we don’t care what they think about a situation. But that is par for the course and right now we are putting on someone else’s green.
I am not complaining. I am not even regretful for our current position. In fact, 95% of the time I am happy living together as we do and I look forward to adding a 3rd generation to the mix. But it is not easy. I guess no one ever said it is. There are headaches. There are heartaches. There are times when we are put in the middle or we unfairly ask them to sit in the middle of our junk. But when I look around at others I think how unique this season in life is; this place God has put us. Each morning I get to share a cup of coffee with my folks, chatting about the day to come and each night I get to lay beside my wife with the promise of a new tomorrow.
So what do you think about multi-generational living? Could you do it? Do you do it? Would you like to try it? Let me hear from you!