Readers of my blog may assume that because I grew up with my grandparents, my parents were absent. This comment, of course, came from dad. So in honor of my dad, let me explain to you some things so you don’t get the wrong idea. =)
My parents raised me and were very present in my life. I think the word, “intergenerational dorm life” could probably describe the type of environment I grew up in. To credit my parents, international dorm life would never have been possible without their hard work and sacrifices. Anytime you live in close quarters like this, there is nothing easy about it.
Our house was “intergenerational” because my parents, my two older sisters and I, and my paternal grandparents all lived in the same house. And like dorm life, there was always a lot of noise, little privacy, some drama, lots of food, and just a natural hustle and bustle and busyness with each day. After my sisters and I went to college, did the intergenerational dorm life end there? Not quite.
It’s a bit confusing but after college, my parents moved out of the house and my sister, her husband, and their newborn baby ended up moving in. I’m not sure what she was thinking but my oldest sister graciously allowed me and my grandparents to stay with her in the house we all “grew up” in. (My sister and her husband were only 27, 28 at the time!)
So there we were in one house…my oldest sister, her husband, their one, then two kids (now three kids) and then me and my grandparents. Mama, my grandma, was 91 and Yeye, my grandpa, was 94. I was 22.
That’s when “intergenerational dorm life” went into overdrive. Between waking up to my niece and nephew running around early morning and my grandpa’s television turned on maximum volume every afternoon, it was loud! There were no babygates for the kids because my grandparents couldn’t walk over them and believe it or not, we had four flights of stairs in the house! It was crazy but wonderful at the same time. My niece, about two or three at the time, used to have shows in Mama and Yeye’s room and she’d sing, dance, jump around like a frog and then give them kisses and hugs before heading off to bed. When I had “relationship issues”, I’d sit on the couch with my grandma and it always made me feel better. When my grandpa was low on Coke, I’d bring him to the store, and well… life just went this way. To this day, Mama, at 96, still helps to feed her youngest great grandkid at 1 years old and well, in my opinion, that’s not a bad life.