And then it was back to real life

By Mir
October 20, 2008

Having the parental units in-house is a marvelous experience that makes me yearn for those days of yore when multiple generations shared a dwelling as a matter of course. Back then I’m sure that everyone got on everyone else’s nerves and someone was always pounding on the bathroom outhouse door screaming that they needed to get in, HURRY UP, but from here I can paint a picture of total domestic bliss worth coveting.

(Not that I’ve ever been known to distort the facts to suit my fancy. Nuh uh.)

And now everything will go back to normal—back to school, back to work, back to meals being an unremarkable affair around our little kitchen table instead of a giant feast at the dining room table while we all remark on HOW BEAUTIFUL the room is, ESPECIALLY THE PLASTER, and then everyone has another serving of Endless Food and then (naturally) there is dessert, afterwards.

No more waking up to hear “Grandpa! Come play with me!” or “Grandma! Come see what I did!” No more beautiful concertos wafting down the stairs as my stepmom proved that the new piano is, indeed, capable of playing something other than Hot Cross Buns. No more turning to the kids and saying, “Wow, isn’t that SO PRETTY? Don’t you wish you could play like that?” And they nod and agree and twenty minutes later when the piano is free and I suggest one of them goes and practices, suddenly everyone is too busy or doesn’t feel like it.

No more sneaking off with Monkey to create Miis for the grandparents so they’d be ready to compete in bowling on the Wii, with Monkey solemnly informing me that Grandpa’s Mii isn’t right, because there’s no option to show the hair on his ears. (Sorry, Dad!) No more taking turns on the Fitness Test, and then trying to explain to the kids why Grandpa actually beat me, because my score was lower than his, true, but he’s a lot older than me and score was more younger than him than mine is of me. (That was a very “Who’s on First?” discussion. I finally gave up.)

No more letting the kids have cake for breakfast, because sometimes you need to have cake for breakfast, sure, but then you have to get back to real life where your terribly mean mother insists on cereal and fruit and toast, instead.

No more watching my husband and my father pace off the driveway, the playroom upstairs, the space off the deck, and the garage, while they plot in ever-more-intricate ways how we will manage to create the Man Space Otto so needs craves here at the house. I’m pretty sure that if Otto had had his way, my father would’ve drawn up complete blueprints for The Grand Plan before he left. And possibly broken ground and poured the footings, too.

No more post-kid-bedtime lounging around the television, having the good ice cream we’ve hidden from the kids, and having my ass handed to me in Scrabble. Well, I guess I can still do two out of three of those just with Otto. (Oh, I think I’m gonna be in trouble for that one.)

It went by too quickly (it always does). The children are going to be disappointed to realize they’re stuck with just us, again. We’ll be back to the gruel, regular beatings, and long hours locked in the closet. Or so they would have you believe.

It was a wonderful visit, and I hope they’ll come back again soon. Although, preferably after I’ve lost the five pounds I gained this week. And after the children have forgotten how awful it is to have to follow rules sometimes.


  1. Otto

    Yeah, we’re out of the good ice cream, I think …


  2. Headless Mom

    Priceless, Otto.

  3. Mir

    Smooth, sweetheart. Very smooth. ;)

  4. KD @ A Bit Squirrelly

    I have a love/hate relationship with company too. I miss it when the house is quiet again as everyone falls into their normal routines. Glad you enjoyed your time!

  5. Dawn

    The beatings should continue until morale improves.

    Also: Mmmmmm… ice cream.

    And three cheers for grandparents!

  6. tori

    Otto’s comment cracked me up for sure!

    Sounds like a wonderful visit!

  7. Burgh Baby

    I think you could maintain some of that charm if you decided to do some major construction on all but one bathroom. I’m positive the four of you sharing one toilet and shower would bring out the closely-knit family vibes in NO TIME.

  8. MomCat

    Otto: Buy her one of those ridiculously expensive Italian ice cream makers she has been coveting. The good ice cream will seem like gruel by comparison. (Think Peach Brandy ice cream, Key Lime and Absolut Citron sorbet, Maple Bourbon ice cream…)

  9. Jess

    Hey, did I miss you getting a wii fit? Congratulations!

    We had to make miis for my parents when I visited them, and now they do step aerobics with me when I bother to exercise. Seeing my stepfather rocking it to the goofy step aerobics song is pretty entertaining.

  10. Holly

    Glad you had a great time, turn on some music and drown out that depressing post-visit silence.

  11. StephLove

    We had a grandparent visit this weekend, too. My mom came to stay with us and took me and the older kid to the National Gallery to see the Pompeii exhibit. Funny how you never do these things unless you have company.

    In two weeks we’re going to Western Maryland (I think that’s where we’re going– Partner made the reservations) to meet the other grandmother halfway between her place and ours. I’m looking forward to getting away.

  12. StephLove

    p.s. Glad you had a great visit. I meant to say that before.

  13. Half Assed Kitchen

    I, too, would like to live in a big compound with my extended family. As long as I could pick and choose who’s allowed in.

  14. Megan

    See and now I live where grandparents are a regular possibility and we STILL don’t get together as we should since one or the other (I have frighteningly energetic parents) are always whizzing around doing something. Maybe with the bribery of ice cream…

  15. Katie in MA

    The entire post was really very sweet, but my favorite part was that Otto was the very first person to comment…four minutes after it was up. :) I’d be lucky to find that kind of love.

  16. Mike Golch

    the one bad the=ing about mulitple generations of families living together the grandparents tend to interfere a lot. at least that was the case for us.

  17. Flea

    The good ice cream … mmmm

  18. sheila

    How nice that you can have a visit for a length of time with others living in your home and you are actually going to miss them. WOW! How did you act-ually do it?????

    Sounds like great memories for your kids!

  19. Daisy

    Love it when they arrive, love it when they leave. But most of all, love them dearly.

  20. lindasands

    You do the in-house parental unit thing SO much better than me. I am still in the distance-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder mode.

  21. bogartg

    I’m on vacay on the Hawaiian islands and I still can’t help wondering what I’m missing out on back at home while Grammy’s in town taking care of my kids…

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