My husband and I are preparing to enter into a new kind of living situation: multiple generations in one home. And it’s an adventure. It will no longer by “my house,” but “our house.” To do this well, we are all going to have to learn to habitually practice respect for each other in our common spaces.
It’s going to be as if we are once again moving into a shared dorm room-suite-bathroom situation and have to care about each other’s needs and preferences and adapt our own to the common good.
For instance, I enjoy cooking a meal and getting good food on the table for us to enjoy together. But I don’t function well in a mess–I work best in a neat kitchen with a place for everything and everything in its place. I clean up as I go. But then I’ve done my part. The eaters get to do the clean up, and I prefer that they do thorough job until tables and counters are clean. Although we share a lot of meals with “our other family,” it’s been at “my” house or “hers,” and we follow the rules of the abode. Soon, it will be “our kitchen,” and what will that look like?
Every room we share, every habit (of action or omission), every preference, and every need will have to be looked at: in ourselves and in the light of others. We will all need to have at our core a spirit of love, grace, and respect. We can do this! That’s the attitude that builds families.
Bring it on!