My in-laws are being shown a personal tour of our daily lives courtesy of my children, myself & my husband.
And my children & my in-laws absolutely love it.
Living life far from family means that when we do get together with family it is often for weddings, holidays or during summer vacation. Not often do we get to fold our parents and our children’s grandparents into our daily life.
When my in-laws come to visit, we get to do just that. They stay in our home, share meals with us, drive the kids to school, build pumpkin racers, unload the dishwasher, play games, go on walks and participate in our everyday activities.
It also means that my family of five shares our two-bedroom, 920 square foot condo with two more adults for two weeks. Several times a year.
Having them stay here means that my husband and I are sleeping on the blow-up mattress in the kids room while we give the in-laws our bedroom and comfortable bed. Before we flipped bedrooms with the kids, giving the in-laws our bedroom also included giving up our master bath as well.
The girls are loving seeing Papa & Grandma at the end of their school day and loving cuddling in bed with them in the mornings.
And I love watching them spent quality time with the in-laws.
It gives the grandparents a place to start conversations with when we are separated for months. Grandma knows to ask how the strawberry plants are growing or if mom ever replaced those pair of pants ruined in the washing machine. And the kids talk excitedly on the phone about what is new in our house or for them at school since they lasted saw each other.
Each generation knows a little bit more about everyday life for all the family members.
We also get to create traditions together. My in-laws visit near Halloween every year. We have several years of traditions such as visiting pumpkin patches and carving pumpkins together. And we are creating new traditions such as this year’s pumpkin racer event and Zombie walk.
The kids get their parents and grandparents around the dinner table every night to share smiles, laughter and stories. And the stories of my husband’s childhood as told by the two of them are the stories that my kids cherish.
And I get a little help with the dishes and the kids. My husband and I will get a date night. I can run to the store for one missing ingredient without having to drag three kids along.
But I also get time to know my in-laws better, to have them see and feel my family in real life. And yes, that sometimes mean they see (and hear) me yell at the kids. I get to hear about their lives and the lives of our other family members. You know, the ones that we aren’t so great at keeping in contact with and vice versa.
I get to hear about the travels, places and people they’ve met.
And we all get to move past the stories of WHAT we do in daily life and move onto the more important conversations. The WHY we do what we do and HOW we feel about it all.
Living daily life with two extra loved ones can be challenging at times. (I’ll admit to sneaking away to happy hour under the guise of running an errand.) But I usually end up not wishing they were leaving soon but rather wondering what life would be like if we lived in a multi generational home.
Giving the in-laws a tour of our lives helps us to keep our family connected across hallways, miles & milestones.