And Now We are Four...More or Less: When Adult Children Move Back Home
A Little Family History
Back in May of 2008, my husband, Anthony, and I proudly sent our 20 year old son, Aaron, off to Universal Technical Institute to pursue his automotive passion. It was difficult at first, for he is our only child, but within only a few months, we settled in comfortably as a couple, with Aaron only six hours away from home. We have always been a closely knit trio, and it was not surprising to learn that he planned to return home when he graduated. We would be 'empty-nesters' no more.
Aaron was raised in this tiny town of Bishop, California, since he was five years old, and he has always loved the rural nature of the place: His school was in Sacramento, and the poor boy-I mean, young man-was miserable.
Aaron was quite the student during this period, for he rarely ventured outside of his apartment, finding the big city daunting in its size and complexity. At the end of 2008, however, he acquired a cat, a dog, and, lo and behold, a girlfriend. How this happened, I'll never know, since mothers are never privy to such information.
Suffice it to say, Christine is a precious young woman, and I believe my son feels the same way. I must admit I had a few doubts about his continued excellence in his studies with her arrival, but thank God I was wrong, and Aaron graduated top of his class on Friday, November 13, 2009.
Anthony and I drove that long and winding road to Sacramento with both excitement and concern, for after the ceremony, we were to help pack their household and move them back home. Did I forget to mention that the cat had just given birth to 5 kittens? I believe I did, so sorry, but if you are parents, I imagine you'll understand my wavering sanity at the moment.
The day of transition arrived and we were all on the road by 10 a.m., Aaron driving his car with car-sick prone Christine holding the kittens on her lap, and the dog on my lap in our truck. Now of course we were instructed to stay on Aaron's 'tail' due to his bad tags, which led to a wild ride, indeed. After a Hummer nearly ran our truck off the road in Placerville, my husband decided to back off just a little and let Aaron adjust. He did. Thanks, kid, I mean, young man.
The other unfortunate incident was that just north of June Lake, my son's weary automobile chose to overheat. Now my son is a brand new graduate, you recall, of an auto tech school, but did he think to bring a jug of water? You know the answer. So we began slipping all of the iced tea we could find into the radiator, and somehow we managed to make it to town.
Wait a minute. There was another-almost-unfortunate incident-how could I forget? As we 'sort of' slowed to approach yet another tiny town, we spied one of those strategically placed police cars off the side of the road. Waiting. My son made the decision to pull into the only gas station in town, we followed. And what do you know? The cop pulled in as well, but on the opposite side. To fill up, thankfully.
Hearts all aflutter, we took off before he could fill his tank-and made it home unscathed!
Home Sweet Home
No matter how much love you may have for your progeny, moving him-them-back into a household is a daunting task. There is 'stuff' to be unloaded, animals to be introduced, and boundaries to be established. Unfortunately, our home is fairly small, and all of this new 'stuff' was initially placed on the dining room table. I do believe the animals had a less stressful time than we humans the first few days, as boundaries were set by my hubby and me as soon as we saw our domicile becoming a box depository.
Of course I had been forewarned of the necessity of 'contracts' and of the benefits of gathering together in a rational way to discuss all of these issues beforehand, but, well, we simply didn't do it that way. But Aaron and Christine are adapting wonderfully to-mostly Anthony's-household regulations. Admittedly, I am somewhat protective of my computer time, but I am learning to be flexible-I think.
Commotion and Adaptation
Now, all in all this has been a transition full of joy and reunion. Aaron is a very popular young man in this small town, and our house has been full of friends and energy. This is taking some getting used to on the part of my hubby and me, but, hey, it's only been a week.
The only sorrow to this new life is that during some of this commotion, Aaron forgot to close one of our doors, and we have lost one of our cats, Rocky.
At first, I was enraged and heartbroken, but on reflection, I realized that Aaron felt terrible, for he grew up with that cat-Rocky was the oldest animal in our home. My only words to him were "Never Again!" and I am certain that he heard me loud and clear.