When journalist Jennifer Conlin and her husband lost their jobs overseas and had to move — with their teenage kids — in with her parents and brother in Michigan, it knocked them all for a loop. Three generations living in one big house? Yet, they learned to love it, and are now committed to the traditional arrangement. Excerpt:
Seeing that the future for all of us looked far bleaker financially and emotionally apart than together, we managed to come up with a way to buy my parents’ home last December, and now plan to add on, with any luck, a master suite on the ground floor with a study and separate entrance, all with wheelchair access, anticipating that they will not always be as spry as they are now, nor will we.
My children did not want to leave their grandparents, who give them firsthand accounts on history homework and a nonjudgmental shoulder to lean on. Nor did my parents want to lose the tech support (the children have taught them to use e-mail and Skype) or their link to the latest lingo (I almost died when my mother said “junk” instead of “privates” when discussing the Anthony Weiner scandal with me).
I don’t know if my confirmed-bachelor brother will stay indefinitely, but I also don’t see why he would leave. Like a Victorian-age family, we cook and clean for the oldest male sibling, while he contributes to the household bills, calmly teaches my children how to drive and plays basketball with them in the driveway on weekends. I now see how smart multigenerational immigrant families have been throughout history.
So when we watch family shows like “Modern Family” and “Parenthood,” we wonder why they don’t just all move in together and get on with it. They are with one another all the time anyway, and it makes a lot of sense in these trying times.
Any of you doing this? What’s it like?