Posts Tagged ‘Parents living with adult children’

Multigenerational Living – the family calendar

For any working parent, the issue of time is important. Time to wake up, get to work, make meetings, home for dinner, etc.

Well, for people who are retired, staying on a schedule can be less of an issue.  And when retired people live with those who work, this can be both a blessing and a challenge.

The blessing is that my retired parents have time on their hands to enjoy their grandkids, be present in the moment, and for the most part, not worry about where they need to be.  (Though they remain militant about the evening news – do all people over 65 have to hear every word Brian Williams utters starting at exactly 5:30?)

I marvel at and am grateful for the fact that my dad can sit in the playroom for hours with my son and work on his trains, and that my mom will sit with my daughter as she reads, or bakes with the kids and lets them hold the hand-mixer, measure ingredients, etc.

The challenge can occur when their less rigorous schedule comes in contact with our daily careers.

My husband and I have days that can be a little unpredictable and “on-the-fly” changes to our schedule can be tough on my parents.  Anyone with a 5 and 7 year old knows there is a certain amount of fluidity to any day, but my mom and dad, though they have all the time in the world, appreciate a certain predictability.  They like to know what to expect. (And I fully admit, this is a facet of MY parents, others might be far more free-wheeling.)  I can tell it frustrates them when I call and say I am running late – hell, it frustrates me, too.

The one thing that keeps me sane is our family calendar. I actually love printing it out and giving it to my dad because he will examine it thoroughly and ask questions about deviations to the schedule – “should we get the kids dinner this night?” or “your mom has a doctor’s appt this day so we can’t pick up the kids from school” or “really – you are traveling to the upper peninsula of Michigan for work?”

This seems to be the one tool that puts them at ease – if it is written down, they know what is happening.  In fact, it is not uncommon for my dad to remind me of things on the calendar.

So, as the new school year is approaching, I am getting organized and updating the family calendar – maybe you are, too?  This will, in the end, save everyone a headache and should allow my parents to watch the evening news regularly – for which I can only say – thank goodness – we would all suffer otherwise.  😉


Multigenerational vacation – the family reunion

Here is a recommendation for your next family reunion – make it about the food – the food from your youth, the stuff that brings back memories. 

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I just got home from the mother of all multigenerational experiences – my family reunion.  We stayed in 2 locations: the families with little kids shared a massive house in Scottsdale (8 adults and 8 kids between 2 and 11) and the others were at the Boulders Resort. 

At any point in the day, we were in the pool, eating, reading, eating, playing games, eating, watching movies, cooking, and eating and oh yeah, drinking.  The initial jaunt to the grocery store resulted in three large carts and a $428 bill – and we made 2 more trips during the course of our 4-day stay.

As the five cousins cooked and prepared food through out the holiday, we talked about the fact that our grandfather never met a meal nor a snack that he did not like.  The man stood 6’4” tall while my grandmother was 5’4”.  She ate like a bird most of the time and as a result, I think my grandfather munched his way through a day…  popcorn, peanuts, pretzels, cheese and crackers, chex mix…  Resisting the inclination to grab a handful of whatever snack lies on a counter goes against our family DNA.

I think we did him proud…  During our vacation, the kids were caught sneaking my mom’s brownies, we made no less than 4 servings of the sour cream/onion mix dip, went through 5 bags of Ruffles (2 were low fat – like that mattered…), mowed through untold numbers of Frescas and diet cokes, devoured 7 pounds of salmon, 10 pounds of pasta, 10 racks of ribs, and drank mojitos, margaritas, beer and wine.  Really, does anyone need anything else?  (Maybe a cabana boy to deliver drinks to the pool?)   Thank goodness we are all back in the real world the other 361 days a year…

The last evening we were together, we savored baby back ribs from Michael Chiarello and fresh coleslaw.  Chas was the first to finish a rib and with a clank of the cleaned bone hitting a bowl, the eating commenced.  We ate and ate… and with 14 adults sitting around the dinner table, we celebrated one birthday, told and re-told old family stories and toasted my grandparents and our heritage.  And only 3 of us got weepy… a minor miracle.

Planning for summer 2011 is already underway… and I am sure the first thing on our grocery list next summer will be sour cream and onion mix – taking us right back to that familiar place of our past.  Thankfully, some things do not change.

the TCC and a spit-swap = the best July 4th

Are there moments from your childhood that are fresh in your mind – as if they happened yesterday?   

Most July 4th holidays from my youth are like that for me – clear in my mind; one for a “rite of passage”  moment and the others for the consistently shared experiences among family.  I had my first adult-like kiss on the golf course at a 4th of July picnic, with a boy who shall remain nameless, while fireworks burst in the sky above us (setting me up with totally unrealistic kissing expectations for the rest of my life).  As for the others, this was a holiday we always celebrated with my mom’s parents, picture below.  

Babuji and Honey - circa 1960


For 15 years, we observed Independence Day at the Tucson Country Club.  The club had a stunning display of fireworks every year that went on and on and on.  Nothing I have ever seen since can compare.  

Each year, after an enormous BBQ, the celebration started with 8 foot outlines of political, tv, and sports characters of the day, or meaningful scenes from American History being lit up inch-by-inch in fireworks – it was like watching dominoes of light trace the images and bring them to life.  After that, massive, intricate and colorful fireworks exploded over our heads for that seemed like an entire hour while we oohed and aahed.  The grande finale was always better than the year before.  

And while the fireworks were on display, we would continue to nibble at BBQ remnants; fresh corn, every kind of meat known to man, enough watermelon to swell a belly and invariably, thick, rich brownies.  As was often the case, my grandparents would talk about their adolescence in Nebraska and Colorado.  I heard stories every year, about what each of them did on the 4th of July when they were kids, “back in the day.”   

And though those stories might have become repetitive as a child, now, it is less the details of those stories that I recall and more the “feeling” of being with my grandparents.    

They are my roots, my history, my foundation.  

At the annual week-long reunion of my mom’s side of the family, the conversation turns to my maternal grandparents, as it often does, and my brothers, cousins and I will tell and re-tell stories about them we all know and love; we all still “feel” them – their pull on us, solidifying our determination to see each other every year, despite the varied zip coded in which we live, our commitment to each other and our families.   

I hope that well into the future, my kids will be able to recall with clarity all the memories they are making with my parents today, but mostly that they will be able to “feel” them in their lives forever.  

I love you and miss you Honey and Babuji!

The peony and living with my parents – there really is a connection….

The peony is my favorite flower of all time.  Lucky for me, they are very popular in cooler climates and grow easily in Colorado.  I was happy to live in a place where I could try my hand at caring for them; I planted a peony bush the first spring we lived here. 

The next June, there were 7 of the delicate pink, buds that bloomed into stunning, deliciously fragrant flowers.  I could not have been happier with my novice attempt at gardening.

There must be something genetic in my family about this flower, because it is also my mom’s favorite and, upon catching a scent of the peony, my daughter said it smelled like, “heaven.”

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With the success of the first peony, my mom and dad bought another and planted it in another spot in the back yard.  That was fine with me, the more peonies, the better.  I could have an entire backyard full of them and be quite happy. 

When the second one bloomed, my daughter declared it was “Honey’s peony.”  (All 8 of my mom’s grandkids call her “Honey.”)  My mom laughed and said something like, “well, I think it would be better if we all cared for them – that way we can all enjoy them!” 

And I think that is a pretty decent analogy for the reason I live in a multigenerational household – turns out, it’s good for all of us.

Twilight: Eclipse – a multigenerational experience

First off – Kanesha and I are members of Team Edward – just had to start there…    

We went to see Eclipse together on opening night and hardly a shock here – we loved it.  We especially loved Edward – but that is so easy.  Of course the marketing juggernaut that is Hollywood is everywhere – including our local Nordstrom, Target and TJ Maxx!   

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So, rather than post a review of the movie, we wanted to comment on the many newly observed multigenerational elements of our movie experience…   

Here we are talking before the movie started…   

Photo by Gina Rogers


MJN and KLB pre- Eclipse movie chat click to hear us dish about Eclipse   

As we got to the theater Kanesha said, “I don’t want to push and shove, but I will…”  Good thing we are both always thinking ahead – we had left plenty of time to get our snacks and get our choice of seats.  In fact, we were so early that we ended up chit-chatting with 2 people immediately behind us.   

Turns out it was a grandmother and her 14-year old granddaughter.  Kanesha and I looked at each other knowing right away what the other was thinking – this would be perfect for our blog.  And we were right…   

This turned out to be a multigenerational movie experience: A grandmother and her grand-daughter in the theater together on opening night.   

Then of course we have the Cullens themselves: adults, albeit vampires, who live with their parents and have for decades despite several of them being “married.”   

Then we looked around the theater and people of ALL ages were ticket-buyers – the obvious tweens and moms, but also many grandmothers…  and I am happy to say, a number of grandfathers!   

MJN and KLB Eclipse movie chat after show and more dishing…   

In the end, while we loved the movie, we also had a whole new level of appreciation for what a range of people appreciate the Twilight story-line.  And we loved the many ways in which we “experienced” multigenerational living while gushing over Robert Pattinson!  (face, eyes, jawline, hair, articulation, and voice  just to name a few…)    

Sorry team Jacob members!