I went through a period when my home became a constant revolving door. I moved to a new church the year my youngest son went off to college. With just one child left at home, I told my youngest daughter, how strange it was going to be with just the two of us. What I hadn’t expected, was a returning college graduate who couldn’t find a job, or a son taking time off from college.
Through the next eight years, I would be surprised by one or another of my young adult children returning. A divorce, a marriage, going back to school, getting out of the Navy, changing schools, another college graduate waiting on a job, were reasons to move in with mom. Stays might last a couple of months, or at other times a year or two or three. My friends would start conversations by asking how many children were with me on that day. Keeping track of my changing and evolving family life must have been a challenge for my neighbors. Cars would fill my driveway and spill into the street. For a brief period I had the house to myself. Yet, a mere two months later five kids were back home.
I understand this phenomenon started in the 90’s, but has become even more common among today’s parents. The high cost of housing has caused many young people to detour on the way out of the family home. This ebb and flow of returning family members demands from all a great deal of flexibility in dealing with one other. Along with revolving children, are the interruptions that accompany such movement. Oddly, it is in those interruptions to what has been planned, that real living gets done.
Interruptions cause us to reorient ourselves and our focus. They force us to determine what is valuable and what isn’t . . . what is necessary and what is simply excess. More often than not, interruptions give opportunity to work at relationships, lend support and encouragement, assist with a need or simply be the listening ear someone else needs. They can be blessings as we open ourselves to what God has to say to us through them.
Years have passed since the last child stayed for a time. Looking backwards, I see that era in my life as a gift, a grace. I would never have planned for myself.