Tuesday, September 06, 2005

parenting -- another go-round

We had guests this weekend – friends from the Island, over here to settle one of their three daughters into school for the semester. At lunch on Sunday, we batted around our experiences of living with adult kids. Our friends, who still have two adult-aged daughters at home, are in the thick of it. We’ve been there, though since our 19-year-old son moved out in March we’ve had an empty nest. We’ve begun easing the congestion in our house by spreading our stuff into the empty bedrooms, loving the lack of chaos and all in all liking the situation a lot, thank you very much.

"I don’t think B. will ever come back home to live again," Ernie said confidently in that conversation.

Yesterday morning, B. was on the phone. After the usual niceties, he came to the reason for his call. "I’d like to move back home."

Gulp.

Ernie and I spent some time yesterday, rehashing the ideas we’d discussed previously when faced with just this possibility. We want to avoid some of the mistakes we made before. We’re trying to understand the differences between issues on which to compromise because they are a mere inconvenience and the kid has out-grown the house-rules of an adolescent, and on which to lay down the law because our love needs to be tough and we need to maintain our own sanity. We’ve even gone to the extent of formulating a discussion paper, listing the areas of concern and possible dissension: meals, room, laundry, girlfriend, use of our computers, use of downstairs TV etc.

Tonight, before the moving truck with drum kit, TV, dresser, mattress and bags and bags of second-hand clothes rolls up, we’ll be having a family meeting. We want to know what his expectations are and we want him to know ours. Above all, this time we we're praying it will be better.

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