Family

I have been pretty quiet lately. Mainly I’ve been busy, but then again, I’m always busy. More importantly, I’ve been adjusting to having my eldest back in my day-to-day life again.

We have had too many heart-to-hearts to count.

And while your adult child coming home to stay with you might be viewed by some as less than optimal, I remain, over six weeks later, deliriously happy about it.

Perhaps it is an artifact of a 17-year-old pregnant girl’s dreams. At that age you don’t think about teenage angst, arguments over messy rooms, or single parenting. Instead, you imagine a sweet little baby, all cuddles and coos, and someone who will love you for all the rest of your days.

At least, that’s what I imagined.

Through marriage, divorce, custody battles, screaming poverty and more – Dee and I kind of grew up together. I’d love to say that I was an amazing mom. But honestly? I just did an okay job – I stressed out about all the wrong crap and ignored or rushed through the moments when I just needed to stop and ENJOY my child. I was too worried about making ends meet, being a single mom, trying to improve my life, and more.

And when she went away, just a few months before her 18th birthday, and didn’t come back…I was devastated.

In the 8+ years she was gone, I really changed my life. A big part of it was Em’s presence in my life, and our decision to homeschool. It pulled me out of my comfortable little isolationist life and straight into a life filled with laid-back, innovative, forward-thinking moms and dads. It took me from a quiet house in Belton to a house in the city filled with sirens and crazy dramatic moments, more friends, and connections in the community around me, plus even more homeschooling mama friends and cool neighbors.

And then Dee returned. And I was different, and she was different, and yet, in all of the important ways, we were very much alike.

  • We make the same weird little noises.
  • We have the same odd sense of humor.
  • The values I instilled in her during the better parts of my parenting adventures were well remembered

And I found that I really, really enjoyed her presence.

Honestly, there have been far too many visits where I was in tears at the end – either because I felt as if we would never, ever be able to put the past sadness and anger behind us and forge a new peer relationship, or later, that we couldn’t have a proper relationship because we were so damned far apart.

It’s hard to be close to someone who lives 1,500 miles away.

So here she is, and as I said, I couldn’t be happier. The people I love most in the world are all under one roof. Seriously, how could it get better?

We still have our scraps and tense moments. And one of them occurred today. Later, hours later, Dee said, “I’m dependent on you, I’m not paying my way…”

That bothered me. It bothered me a lot.

I said to her, “We all do our part. Dave makes more money than I do, but I handle so much of the running of the household. I handle the finances, keep the house running as smoothly as possible, and do what I can to contribute financially. You cook most of the meals, help me out with the house and with Em, and were 90% of the driving force to getting her room clean (an epic event that went on for over three days and has made the room the cleanest most organized room in the entire house). If you are a dependent, then so am I, and I’m not okay with that. I do my part, Dave does his, and you do yours. You are not dependent upon us, you are not a drain on us, you are a part of our family and our household.”

Dave echoed my sentiments later that day. “It is a wonderful thing knowing that if I need it, there is always a place for me in my parent’s home.”

And that, my dear readers, is what love and family are to me.

If you get really, really lucky, sometimes they come back home.

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