For one thing, they made me clean out all the stuff that I’d been storing there for decades, including all the notes that my friends and I passed in sixth grade, all my prom dresses, my dolls and stuffed animals, the contents of a bulletin board that I had in my room from 1980 until 1994, and a lot of tapes (or what my nephew Will recently referred to as: those square things). I kept some of it, obviously, but it’s not the exhaustive collection that it once was.
More importantly, I felt like I wouldn’t be able to go home any more, because their home wouldn’t ever have been my home. Fortunately, I was completely wrong about this. Being at my parents’ house is still just like coming home. It’s different now, because I’m not a teenager and in fact have my own kid who is here with me. But here are some of the great things about it:
>> I enjoy not having to answer this question: “What’s for dinner?” For some reason, coming up with a plan for dinner wears me out more than making the actual dinner. When I’m here, my mom is in charge. Thank goodness.
>>My mom and dad are incredibly patient with John, and very creative about the time they spend with him. Last year they found all the He-Men action figures that my brother had in the early 80s, but they had been in the garage for a million years, so the activity became a scrubdown for He-Man and all his friends. John thought it was fantastic and it took about two hours. Genius.
>> The Ydel family appreciates the value of a well-timed cocktail, and my dad often hands me one just at the end of the workday or at the end of contested bedtime or whatever else seems to indicate a need. If he could follow me around with bourbon in my regular life, I think things would go a lot more smoothly. I’d also be an alcoholic. Trade offs.
>> John sleeps very, very well here. He’s very busy during the day. He’s chasing older cousins around and playing outside and running errands and helping wash the car and a million other things, so he falls into bed at night and often sleeps harder and longer than at home. And when he sleeps more, I sleep more. Ahhhh….
>> And most importantly: my parents are here! And my sister! And her family! And as an added bonus, my sister-in-law and her family are in Charlotte as well. John is ecstatic when he’s in the company of those cousins, and I agree with him. No offense intended to my wonderful friends, but there is no group that I’d rather spend time with than my family.
I talk to people all the time who go home as rarely as possible, and for very limited visits. I understand that there’s probably a reason that we don’t all live in multi-generational homes. But for me, home is where family is, even if I live 900 miles away and don’t get here as often as I would like. At the end of July, home will be in South Carolina, where we’ll have an even bigger group at the beach. That’s one of the only times of the year when we’re really all together, including my brother and his family up from Alabama. Can’t wait.