“We have to be parents again”

9 Feb

It was an obvious statement, but not one I was really ready to hear.

“Joel, what are we going to do? We have to be parents again!”.

The Mrs was — per usual — spot on. Grandma Soup, as she is lovingly called, we had just found out would be moving on to her own place after an extended stay with us. She had found an apartment about 30 minutes away. Ok, hang on.. Let me rewind a little bit.

9 months ago The MIL (mother-in-law) needed a place to stay and with rentals in our metro area being in the Top 5 (not verified but thoroughly believed) most expensive places to live we offered her a spare room in our home.
I’ll be honest — I wasn’t too sure of how it would all pan out. I mean, I had always enjoyed time spent with the MIL… but living under the same roof? Here were a few questions I had for the Mrs:

  • You mean I have to close the door when I pee now?
  • How do you enforce the house rules to another adult? Hold on…. we have house rules?
  • What if she clogs up my DVR with mindless reality TV?

As you can tell my worries were grounded in solid logic. I mean what’s the use in paying a mortgage if you have to close the door every time you use the restroom? What is the use of having a 60″ TV if you can’t watch Niagara battle Marist on ESPNU because there are 5 other shows being recorded all at once?? Ohhhhh boy… here is the big one: How do you undo the damage caused by 24/7 Grandma exposure? C’mon parents — you know what I am talking about. It takes twice as long to re-build & re-parent everything that a weekend with a grandma can tear down, spurred on by large doses of chocolate and non-existent boundaries. While the world is full of love because of grandmas… it is also full of sneaky rule breaking because of them too.

It turns out I had nothing to worry about. Not a damn thing. Do you know that the last nine months have been downright enjoyable, mostly because of all the help Grandma Soup gave us? Do you know that not once were we frustrated because of her lack of enforcing rules, or for jumping in between our son and us? Do you know that not once did I have to watch mindless reality TV instead of whatever mindless sports match I wanted to see? She was always quick to lend a helping hand, around the house or with Nolan, no matter how exhausted she was. She never over-parented us, or undermined our parenting tactics, no matter how much she disagreed with them. Most times she did more for Nolan than I did, even after she returned from working far more hours and fighting worse traffic than I did to get back home. Far too often I would almost shrug Nolan off onto her because he wouldn’t stop whining for her — guys, I have literally forgotten how to be a parent; she’s that good! She was gracious, patient, humble, caring, and kind. Grandma Soup is the world’s greatest MIL, and she’s an even better grandma.

This past weekend grandma moved on to another new chapter in her life and I hope she is as excited for herself as we are sad to see her go. While I know she will always be close by and just a quick call away if we ever need her, gone from our home is the built-in babysitter (mostly for our dogs) and the easy tie-breaker for arguments — though somehow her vote nearly always went with her daughters and against mine. Gone is the helping hand at dinner; the one who would rather starve and be drug to the basement to play with Nolan than eat her dinner after a long day.
The fact is we were blessed to have a grandma in the house for any amount of time. Maybe Nolan will never remember or realize how lucky he was to have her so close for this past year, but the Mrs and I will never forget it.

Ok, ok now the answer to the question you’ve all been asking — yes I’m getting paid to write this. Nine months rent sayy whaaaa!!!???

So if I may be excused, I have to go figure out how to be a parent again!


Grandma Soup & Nolan: Pumpkin Carving 2014


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