I sometimes chuckle smugly when others complain their grown up kids don’t leave home, for years or decades. I feel just a tad righteous because we managed to offload both of ours straight after uni and packed them off to live independently and successfully in different cities.
But here we are, 10 years later and one of them has just moved back in—this time with her whole family in tow! That’s five people including a five-year-old, a three-year-old and a very vocal but not-yet-talking-not-long-one-year-old, and a big hairy dog. Oh, and the entire contents of their house that has completely taken over our double garage, totally lines one side of the hallway, and covers each and every horizontal surface in the house including the floors.
It’s a temporary stay, just while their new house is completed after the rental property came to an end. We were all supposed to be just ships passing in the night as we travelled with just a week or so crossover. But then, of course, the house got delayed! What were we thinking? Houses always get delayed.
It’s been a manic month. Very busy. And very noisy. And extremely messy. And quite stressful. And we’re not even the parents or doing most of the work. And I’ve been to Brisbane, Bendigo, Melbourne and Newcastle too in that time.
There’s the very loud, teething toddler who’s into everything – cupboards, dishwasher, garden beds, yogurt, the big kid’s Woollies herb mini-gardens, the dog’s eyes; a digger-crazed Mister 3 with magic snow and ice powers who runs incessantly up and down the now-thinned hallway draped in a soft blanket (cape) as Elsa the Frozen princess shouting ‘let it go, let it go’ and who likes to regularly re-landscape our garden (ie, make mud) and who goes so hard he sometimes just crashes out on the sofa; and Miss 5 who just resists sleep with a fierce passion and somewhat resembles that jumping bunny filled with Everlast batteries advertised years ago. The one that just keeps on going. Actually she’s pretty easy in comparison to the others, AND she goes to school during the day.
Meanwhile the parents zip in and out to meet builders, fencers, contractors, landscapers, carpenters and carpeters, and do long inspections and get sign offs, and disappear into the dark of night to paint and spak-fill, and paint the old chest of drawers which now lives in the laundry on a drop sheet in the laundry (next to the change table) almost blocking the washing machine which hardly gets a break from the 16 loads of washing per day.
The dog is an angel and no trouble at all.
It’s not all bad. On the other hand, it’s been a delight to have them all and disperse the work load a little. We’ve played lots of games, had oodles of cuddles and bedtime stories (we even started Narnia) and we get much assiduous assistance with feeding the worms and the goldfish and watering the pots. Mr 3 even called me his ‘other mum’.
We’re lucky really that we can all grit our teeth and survive this with a smile and sometimes a grimace, and a glass of wine at the end of the day. Sometimes two. (I’m taking notes for when I’m old and decrepit and need assistance from the young’uns. I’m sure it will be repaid.) Mr T is just a bit anxious as he’s trying to get the tax return done in time for submission (tomorrow!). Nothing like a deadline.
We’re a family. Pretty messy one at the moment and I’m not getting anywhere near the things I need to tick off my lists, but we’re going all right.
Two nights to go.
No, wait – then the other one arrives from interstate with her bub.