We are a very close, loving team we three. And although I know he adores us and gets along with us, I also know in my heart what he will want after living independently for so long: to have his own place. I figured this would not happen immediately as he would have to save money, but I knew it would be his goal. The concept of this does not hurt me in the least, nor does it hurt my husband. We understand and remember that fresh feeling of adulthood with its accompanying freedoms. I remember like it was yesterday that proud feeling of locking my very first apartment door with my very first key. Those first months after moving out on my own, I walked three feet off the ground proudly knowing I was coming and going as I pleased and answering to no one but myself. I should add at this point that the “apartment” I was bursting with pride over was so small, that if you stood at the end of my pullout couch when it was a bed, you could both open the fridge and do the dishes.
These last four years have been the “holidays” stage of our lives together where the boy would come home “officially” for holidays and breaks between school and camp councilor duties. The three of us always look so forward to these visits. So we weren’t sure what these next few years would bring. We knew the boy would be working and writing and trying to start his career. We also thought that he and the girl might be traveling. Then the girl got into the University of Toronto for her chosen course and, well ... long story a tad shorter ... they are moving in with us! Yes, we jumped at it. There wasn’t even a moment’s hesitation. Not only does the boy love this girl, but over these years we have grown to love her like a daughter. Add to that, she is leaving her parents for the first extended period of their lives and I think it may help them to know she is being loved and cared for as they enter their “holiday” years.
I also know that they could get a little apartment somewhere in Toronto together. Some little postage stamp hovel to call their own, and I know at some point, they will. But right now we wanted them to have a kick-start home. We wanted them to know that we are there for them as they start phase two of their lives. We have talked over the pitfalls and potential problem areas, as is my wont. I am a great believer in laying out the groundwork so there are as few surprises as possible. As Colin said to them, “We are now officially roommates and as such we treat each other and the host house with mutual respect.” And I know they will. For our part, we plan to live together and let live together. We are making some changes to the house to make it a larger breathing space. Not a renovation, just some strategic moving around of stuff. We want them to feel that this is their home too, where they can entertain their friends independent of us. And we will savour their time with us because we know that somewhere along the line they will want their own little place and we’ll be fine with that. And we will never regret offering them a loving transition.
So we are very excited because there is going to be lots of giggling and love in the house, and it won’t just be Colin’s and mine.
Barbara: So sweet, Deb! Now that I’m seeing the end of “communal living” here—because that is surely what we’ve come to: our girls now share all the grownup chores and act like adults (most of the time!)—I am watching your next stage with interest. On the one hand, we’ve just brought the younger daughter home for the summer (and it is bittersweet for her: she loves being home, she misses her true independence), on the other hand, when she leaves for university again in the fall, our older daughter, the one who has just graduated, will probably be moving out of her childhood home. Quite possibly (and according to her, absolutely for certain), this move will be for good. And so I face the next year with more quiet, more aloneness, fewer dishes. I am not afraid of it, but it does loom. I am sure I will quietly envy your games’ nights and your family meals. Until the holidays, that is, and my own full house again. In the meantime, I will drink in this summer of noise, mess, and laughter!