A Tale of Two Families

When we decided to have a house built in the country this spring, the builder guaranteed us we would be moved in by the end of August. Now, September has come and gone and our builder guaranteed us that we would be in by the end of October. And we get on our knees and pray each night that we will at least get to carve a Thanksgiving turkey in our new house. In my next life, I’m going to be either a meteorologist or a builder, either profession continues to keep you on the payroll even if you are incorrect or past deadline by months. But I digress. Putting aside the 800 other obvious problems associated with being without a home, but with two small children and a German Shepherd, I will focus on just one major problem: we are imposing in a major way on my welcoming and beyond tolerant parents.

Smokoing chimney

When my parents agreed to let us stay with them, it was when the stay would have been a couple of weeks, tops. Well, that couple of weeks has turned to a couple of months and we have kind of consumed every aspect of my parents’ home and lives.

When we first arrived the weather was warm, we weren’t in school yet, and we spent most of our time at the beach, on the boat, and playing outdoors. Time and temperature were not issues. Now, that I am back teaching, my son started kindergarten, my daughter returned to day care, and temperatures dip into the 40s at night, thereby forcing us indoors, we are running into problems of the totally-taking-up too-much-space-and-in-your-face-at-all-times variety.

My parents never say a word, except to say they are so happy to have us, but sometimes, like when the dog pukes behind my mother’s favorite chair during dinner, I see their lips quiver and a kink in the armor. The jig is up: we just might be driving them bat crap crazy. And I feel so awful about it.

I get caught up in the crazy and worrying about mess, confusion, the dog getting sprayed by a skunk, my son riding his bike down the stairs, and my daughter playing pat-a-cake with her poop. But then, in the midst of the storm, I see the kids curl into Grammy and Poppy’s laps to snuggle or to read a book. Or I see my son find a picture of that naughty boy from school he always tells Grammy about and RUN to go show her. Or I see how my daughter greets Pop with a thrilled “hi, dude” when we come home. Or, after the kids go to bed, the adults get to sit in the living room, drinking wine and eating chocolate, chatting about anything and everything for hours.

These daily events help me remember, no matter how hectic and cluttered things might get in my parent’s cottage by the lake, both families are going to be darn lonely when move-in day arrives. These moments together are fleeting, this time is just so precious, and we are in this garden together such a short, short time.

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About Becky Jha

Born and raised in rural Connecticut , Becky DeMattia-Jha attended Salve Regina University in Newport, RI, and has her M.Ed. She has been teaching high school English for 15 years and currently resides in Massachusetts with her husband, their two children, and their German Shepherd. She spends her precious summer vacations indulging in passions other than literature: serving as a lactation peer coach, practicing herbal medicine, organic gardening, making natural cleansers and cosmetics, and preparing quick and easy organic recipes for her family. She hopes to share her efficient, chemical-free, eco-conscious, frugal, and simplistic homemaking and homesteading tips with you.

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