Since getting back from Australia in April of last year, I have been living with my ex-husband, my daughter, and my three grand-daughters in our old family home in Auckland. As I write that it sounds a bit weird. It has been a noisey, crowded, argue-y, hilarious, and ever increasing rabbit-filled safe house for me. A nest, in a hole, in a corner of the world where no one can find me.
Not that I'm hiding but I've needed to get used to being back in New Zealand and it's taking nearly a year. Until last week, I hadn't even contacted any of my friends and even now, I just texted one.
So living at home and it was a race between my daughter and myself as to who would move out first. Both of us constantly on trademe.co.nz looking at properties to rent or buy. She won - easy race really given I have zero confidence in anything since getting back - and moved out with the girls last weekend. She was so excited, and is very happy to be back in her own place no longer co-parenting with her parents.
Now I, on the other hand, have this half-baked, hair-brained scheme to buy my own home again. Not sure if this is an advanced form of procrastination or not, so I am still living in our old family home with my ex-husband with this fanciful notion of saving a butt load of cash.
And then on Monday night, a funny thing happened.
I realised, as I sat on the couch and watched TV while my first (hate saying 'ex' all the time) husband groomed his fantasy soccer team for final victory on his iPhone - we are grand parents. Like, okay, we're not married; we have separate rooms; we're actually more like roommates. But we're just like so many other grandparents in a big old house, suddenly empty and quiet. We're not parenting anymore, or even grand-parenting.
As weird as this felt, and as strange as the realisation was, emerging benefits can fast on those realisations, not the least of which is a huge reduction in hours spent in front of Disney Princess movie sequels (Cinderella 2: Just say NO!) - we can do anything we like. For instance, we can shift rooms around - don't need a play room anymore and can return it to a dining room; finish the kitchen - shut it the hell down and just eat out until it's done; take a week to fill the dishwasher; use mushrooms in our cooking; read.in.the.lounge.
It's kinda weird (not unlike this blog post) because we've been divorced for more than 15 years but there you go.