Friday, January 23, 2009

The Multi-Generational White House

Remember when I wrote about multi-generational homes here? Well, apparently the most famous house in America is joining the bandwagon. I was just reminded that Michelle Obama's mom is going to be living in the White House over at Crunchy-Con's blog. And what can I say, I think the idea is brilliant?

Our months living at my parents house last spring were not entirely conflict free. There was the fact that the subwoofer my dad's tv, which he watches late into the night, would vibrate the wall of our 'bedroom' (solution: buy my dad some headphones). Or those pesky overhead footsteps that we thought we had left behind in Somerville (solution: help my mom, the active stomper, take care of kitchen chores during daytime hours). Or the time I walked into the kitchen to see my dad encouraging the then 9-month-old Zosia to drink from the cat bowl (solution: reprimand the grandpa). But all in all, it was wonderful to have that built-in support network. Ben and I could sneak out for dates, our kitchen dishes seemed to magically disappear each evening, and from what I can tell, my parents have overwhelmingly fond memories of the time too-- I think that there was no greater pleasure for them than to walk downstairs in the morning and see their granddaughter working on breakfast.

I think there is a definite advantage to this type of interdependent family system, and while it totally challenges our American notions of breaking out of the family mold to set out into the world, it really does work. Of course you have to work on your relationship with the parents, you have to be willing to make some compromises, and you have to be ready to be flexible. But, that being said, I am absolutely sure that living with my parents was a wonderful thing for Zosia, just as I'm sure that having a stable and loving grandmother in-house will be a huge blessing for our First Family.

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