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Devlyn Brooks, Published May 05 2009

Parenting perspectives: Grandma moving in with boys and me

My mother came to live with us a week ago – not just for one of her periodic stays, but full time; you know, I’m talking the big “P,” as in permanently.

Although Mom has spent some significant time staying with us the past few years, often coming for a week or two, now it’s official: She’s a Moorhead resident.

I can assure you things will never be the same – for any of us. There’s really so much to consider; it’s been nearly 20 years since I lived in the home that serves as the epicenter of the family, the hub that holds all 60-plus spokes of our family together.

And while I’m sure that means we can expect a lot more company, I’m also anxious that my mom won’t be happy here. She’d grown accustomed to her quiet life in her quiet, little town two hours away. And now all of her routines have been shaken up. I know the move over the past couple of weeks has been stressful on her, and we have a lot more work to get her settled. So, ultimately, I hope this becomes a good thing.

The boys, of course, are excited. They know now that there will always be someone home after school when they get there, and Grandma will spoil them rotten. Garrett also will have his projects partner –as in a partner to help him with his numerous craft projects he does and the projects Grandma gets into. He’ll be able to putter around the kitchen with Grandma, making cookies, cakes and pies. He loves that time with “Gma,” as he calls her.

The Bug, on the other hand, knows that he’ll have his very own live-in hot chocolate maker. And trust me, when Granny is here, he can pound the hot chocolate because he says mine never tastes right.

Garrett can watch the Twins on TV with Grandma, and the Bug will have a full-time Matchbox car and Candyland partner. Man, do the kids have plans for her. I don’t think Grandma knows what she’s in for.

For me, having Grandma around gives me a lot of family support right in town, something I haven’t had since moving here a couple of years ago. And I’m excited that the kids will get to grow up around Grandma rather than having her two hours away. I suppose mixing our three generations together is a little bit old-school, but it feels so right.

Little challenges aside, this begins a new chapter for all of us. Mom’s going to relieve some of the pressure of being a single parent in a demanding job, and the boys get to have another person whom they love dearly under the same roof. And I know Mom is excited to get to see her “boys” – as she calls Garrett and the Bug – almost every day – and to be near most of her sons.

And so, we’ve now grown to a household of four, with three cats and a dog. Oh, the stories we’ll have to tell.

Devlyn Brooks is a news editor at The Forum. He lives with his two sons … and, er, his mom … in Moorhead. Read his blog about parenting at www.areavoices.com/singledad.