A few months ago, my mother moved in with us. She lived in Minot, North Dakota, and there were a few reasons why that wasn’t going to work anymore. The massive flooding there earlier this year followed by a huge oil boom (both of which have been covered pretty extensively in the news) have combined to drive the cost of living in the area through the roof. Despite having a very good job that she loved, it was no longer possible to live there. Plus, who wants to go through North Dakota winters when you have 2 sons living in Southern California? She moved down here to beautiful San Diego in October, and she’s been here ever since.
Now, a lot of you may be thinking that this is horrible, but I can assure you that it’s just the opposite. It is great to have her around. She helps out around the house, and she takes care of the kids when the wife and I need a few minutes to ourselves. She’s also an amazing cook which would make our house one of the best restaurants in the world since CinC HOUSE is also a great cook, and there’s 2 meals that I can make pretty well.
I think the thing that I enjoy the most is how well my wife and mother get along. My wife and I have been discussing this possibility for over a year because we wanted to make sure that we are on the same page first. This is a huge, lifestyle-changing decision, and there’s no way we could have done it if we weren’t both onboard. Fortunately, my wife and mother are quickly becoming fast friends. We love staying up at night and playing pinochle. They like to team up to make fun of me whenever they can, and they have regular craft fairs in our dining room. One of the best moments happened about a month or so ago. Military Gramma had been applying for jobs at a few different places. When we received a message on our answering machine indicating that one of the applications had been accepted, MG didn’t run to me or the kids. She went straight to my wife and they shared an awesome hug of joy. It was a pretty special moment.
I’m sure that this is tough for her at times. She is a typical gramma in that she likes to spoil the grandkids whenever she can. While she has successfully transitioned more to the role of a 3rd parent, it can’t be easy for her. I think she would gladly do it again though, since it allows her to spend time with her kids and grandkids. Since both of her sons left for boot camp shortly after graduating high school and never moved back, she doesn’t take her family lightly.
The only inconvenient part of the arrangement is that the kids have to share a room since we only have 3 bedrooms. They certainly don’t seem to mind, but neither one of them are angels when it comes to going to sleep, and when you combine their efforts, they’re amazing. As a result, bedtime is sometimes challenging. Here in a few months, I will find out where my next duty station will be. If I’m able to stay in San Diego (fingers crossed), we’re going to start looking for a place with a 4th bedroom, so that problem should go away shortly.
On the flip side, can you imagine how awesome it will be to have her in the house the next time I deploy? My wife has had to wave goodbye to a ship 3 times, twice since our daughter was born. It will be incredible for her to have a helping hand the next time it happens. It will also go miles towards keeping my mind at ease while I’m gone. My wife is an amazing woman and can do absolutely anything (most of it better than me), but I’m still going to worry, and any reassurance I can gain is going to be awesome.
Sure, there are some inconveniences along the way. I no longer walk around the house naked after the kids have went to bed which is probably a relief to my wife. Military Gramma is very partial to desserts after most meals, and I am very partial to not saying no to desserts after most meals. When you take everything into account, however, it’s a definite win for us. We came out way ahead on this deal, and I’m glad we were able to make it. Our family is spread out, and it’s always nice to bring it a little bit closer. My wife and I both grew up with grandmothers near by, and we’re incredibly glad that our kids will have the same opportunity.