Next month Ben and I are going to be staying with my parents for a few weeks up to a few months. The logic behind it is impeccable-- we will be able to save money while looking for houses locally, will have help with the baby, etc. On one level, I am welcoming this time as an experiment in the age-old practice of multi-generational homes. I imagine that the majority of the world still practices this sort of living arrangement... certainly there are many families on our street here in Somerville that have many generations living in a double decker (possibly even the majority of families on our street?).
On the other hand, there are some things about multi-generational living that challenge the core of my American values. Didn't I work for 18 years to earn my independence? Isn't part of American life defining oneself from one's parents? Aren't adults supposed to view their families of origin with contempt and bitterness over unhappy childhoods? Those of you who know me can imagine that these American values challenge the way that I try to live my life-- in the context of community.
So I am trying to approach the coming months with a different mindset. Living at my parent's house is going to be a practice in living in a diverse community. Two older Polish folks, two young liberal Americans, one baby, one dog, and two cats living in community. I'll let you know how that goes.