Having my daughter, Ally, and her girlfriend, Fee, move in with me in June of this year was probably the best thing that could have happened. I was concerned that the three of us wouldn’t live well together. Not for any specific reason. I remember moving back in with my Mom and while we love each other more than words can say, it was a struggle and an adjustment. After living on your own, it is hard moving back in with Mom. After living alone, it’s hard to live with anyone! When my daughter said she wanted to come home, we were both nervous, although I don’t think either of us expressed just how nervous we were. She was moving back home, and her girlfriend was moving with her. So there were multiple reasons that all three of us were nervous.
They arrived in June. It has been six months. All they had were oversized duffle bags and a lot of stress and heartache that had accumulated over the years. Some I knew about and some I did not. They also had hope, motivation, and excitement (if only nervous excitement) at their new beginning. They moved into a tiny room and made do with what I could offer them. We slowly established a few rules as each situation presented itself. It hasn’t been easy for any of us. They haven’t had a “Mom” living with them for quite a while. I haven’t had to full time “parent” in a while. What complicates this, even more, is that technically they are both adults. The question arose, do I act as a parent? Do I act as a roommate? It was a struggle on many levels. We have had a few family meetings that were brought on by situations that were not acceptable. I’ve raised my voice (which doesn’t happen often), they, I am sure, have rolled an eye or two at my request, rules, guidelines. It was and still is an ongoing adjustment of living together. If any of you remember the show The Odd Couple, this is us! I am clean and neat and organized. They are not! That has been our basic struggle. On the grand scheme of things, these are minor issues that occur.
Their transition has not been easy or as they expected. They have struggled to get and keep jobs. Money is always an issue. Health issues, insurance issues, not having any friends in the area. All the typical things that are obstacles when you are transitioning and moving to a new place. Even though my daughter was coming home, she had been gone for a while and coming home isn’t always easy. I help when I can, feel horrible when I can’t, always trying to be a sounding board and a voice of reason. They know when I use my “mom” voice and they recognize it. The thing I didn’t expect is that they are there for me too. I have had a lot of things happen this year that hasn’t been pleasant. I also have had a rough four years that just doesn’t seem to get any better. They hold me when I cry. Leave me alone when they can see that is what I need. They invite me to join them in watching movies or just sitting and chatting with them. They tell me they are sorry when they know they have upset me. I know by looking at them that they feel horrible when they know they have upset me. The three of us don’t always agree with each other, but in this short six months, we have shared love and respect that has become more precious to me than I can explain in any amount of words.
This week, in prepping for the holidays, we decided to make gifts for them to give because money is tight. They were feeling bad that they couldn’t buy gifts for everyone so we came up with a solution. Tuesday night we set to making our gifts. The three of us in our tiny little kitchen got into a rhythm. We had music playing, joking around and telling stories of the past and planning for some future things. This isn’t the first time this has happened. It actually happens a lot. We don’t have family dinner nights. We don’t plan time together. When it happens it is organic and natural. We can be ourselves with no judgment or expectations. Just us. The three of us.
We talk about anything and everything. Sex, relationships, love, mistakes, the character of people, hurt, sexual orientation, nothing is off limits. The conversations are free and open, any and everything goes. All conversations are colorful! We all use the F-word as an adjective. The great thing is, the conversations are real. We can laugh and then be crying and then laugh again. Most of the time, I don’t feel like a Mom. More like a sister, or maybe even just a friend of theirs. I am actually alright with that too.
These girls have both been to hell and back on multiple occasions, separately and together, and are here to tell their stories. I wish we could share these conversations with others. We are 53, 30 and 23 years of age, experience, heartbreak, and surviving. I have learned so much from them.
Maybe it will become a separate blog at some point. I don’t think I will ever be done talking about how wonderful these two women are and how they constantly show me what surviving looks like.