Being a parent. Once again, I’ve been reminded (as in “whacked upside the head”) that it never really ends.
Even though you think that once the kids are grown you can slack off a bit, these days, things can change quickly.
What’s brought this up is the fact that, of our three, two are now back living with us.
I won’t go into a lot of details except to say that this economy is biting everyone just now and those just starting out are finding that the road they’re on is more than a bit slippery.
Regarding our two: They’re not freeloading nor are they slacking off. One has resumed her studies and is now a a senior at UW who will be finishing her degree (Dean’s List with several scholarships and grants, this writer proudly adds) early next year. The other is working part time, beginning an internship at Boeing, and also attending a community college to earn a certificate in his field. In his spare time, I might add, he regularly scares the bejabbers out of my wife and I by showing us pictures of himself and his friends climbing various rock faces and mountains.
They’re doing all of this (except for the mountain climbing) in order to sharpen their skills in a particularly tough job market. Unfortunately, doing all of the above on top of paying rent, transportation, food, utilities, and medical bills just isn’t in the cards.
That is, it isn’t in the cards unless they wished to enjoy the urban amenities associated with camping out under some local overpass whose bathroom is just the other side of a few nearby bushes.
So, we did what you’d do. When they asked, we helped.
And, in this “they’re home again” situation, we’re not alone. In fact, I know several friends who also have their grown kids back home too.
One family has a recently married son who’s moved back in with his wife so that they can save enough for a down payment on their first home.
I understand this because, even in a buyer’s market, it’s not that easy to come up with a down payment just now. Prices just aren’t what they were when my wife and I went out on our own. Back then, after renting for a while and deciding that we’d be better off buying a home, we (fairly easily) found one that we could afford on what I earned from both a part time job and the G.I. Bill while I was in graduate school.
In another case, we have friends living in New Orleans whose son has been job hunting since he graduated last year. In that time, he hasn’t even had an offer in his field. So he’s taken part time jobs while continuing his job hunt.
Unfortunately, keeping an apartment - even while sharing - didn’t work because his wages weren’t enough to cover his monthly expenses and, in New Orleans, overpasses give new meaning to the term “uninviting.”
I could add other examples and this isn’t even a “researched” column. It’s just what we’ve been told by those we know and what we’ve experienced on our own.
I don’t resent or regret having to do this. In fact, I’ll quietly admit that both my wife think that it’s kind of nice (in a crowded bathroom sort of way) having them back for a while. All of the empty rooms and the quiet that descended on this place after they were gone sometimes got to be a little spooky.
Having just entered our seventh decade on this planet, my wife and I have almost made it to the point where, in a few years we might - if the entire world economy doesn’t go belly up - be able to retire.
However, we’ve also accepted the fact that worrying about our kids will likely continue to be a constant in our lives even after they’ve moved out for good - whenever that might be. That’s because it sure seems that they’re facing a tougher future than the one we faced when we moved out.
Being a parent.
Those of you thinking about it should understand that, once you sign on, there’s no retiring from it. Trust me, it’s the one job guaranteed to last a lifetime.