We moved the weekend before last and everything has changed. Especially us.
When you live in places without children of your own, there is no permanence. Having kids, no matter where you reside, anchors you to time and place like nothing else. I saw the pregnancy stick read positive in one apartment. I watched my wife go into labor in another. My baby became a boy in yet another small, expensive living space. Such is life in California, but these events left important pieces of my journey on the Google Map of my story here.
I’ve been really lucky in life. I moved down to Los Angeles, lied on my résumé to get an entry-level job and then looked for a cheap place to call home. California isn’t the most economical place to live, so you adjust your perception of dimension to accept what you can get. Tiny becomes cozy. But I worked hard to stay away from the starving artist cliché as much as I could. During our relationship, my wife (before I brainwashed her into marrying me) and I would go through these seesaw extremes where one of us would have a job while the other had none. When my son came I felt like I had no choice but to do everything I could to make his entry into our lives as smooth as possible, financially and otherwise. I also felt like I had a renewed purpose to make a kingdom for my growing family. An empire of fart jokes and Crohn’s disease commercials, sure. But I earned it.
With Baby #2 (for now, let’s call him Prince) on the way, it had to happen. We were busting out of our shoebox/treehouse of a place. The idea of raising Finn and Prince (I see him in a purple onesie with a mustache, now) in a two bedroom apartment, made my skin crawl. I haven’t lived in a house for over 13 years. Coincidentally, that’s also how long I’ve lived apart from my mom.
But we’re making an impossibility happen, motherfrienders. We found a house with a yard, a pool and some really spectacular hardwood floors. You may have seen some of the photos on Instagram:
Now, you might be thinking to yourselves: ‘Did Charlie win the lottery? Is his tiny blog making gobs of money? Did the book do so well he can retire?’
Oh, friends. The answer is nope. None of the above.
The answer lies in the past. We used to be a culture primarily made of multigenerational homes. We supported each other with three or more generations under one roof. We fought together and with each other. We overlapped children, parents and grandparents. Sometimes, more. Instead of going it alone with Prince (should I get him a raspberry-colored beret?), I’ve invited my mother to come live with us. Some of you may think I’m crazy, based on your own mothers or mothers-in-law, but we’re all aware it’s an experiment. More succinctly, it’s a gift. Finn was so tiring. He never slept. He had trouble latching. We also ran ourselves into the ground trying to do everything perfect with him. I was shellshocked by the whole thing, to be quite honest. I am actually excited for Finn to have his glam-ma (her words) around for an extended stay. They are thick as thieves. Wait, did someone steal my wallet?
The layout of the house is perfect. We have a few rooms creating a buffer between our rooms and hers, and, for the first time in so very long, I smell trees, plants, dirt and all sorts of garden scents when I walk into or out of the house. I’m rooted again in a tiny plot of nature after growing up around acres of it. Of course, this will be a stretch for us financially. But no great thing came without some risk, some gamble. If it means I have to work more or produce more, so be it. The cost is worth it.
And most interesting of all, at the moment, a company has noticed my obsession with making our house a home. I’ve got some sort of male version of nesting, if that’s a thing. I’ll call it “lairing.” After a little hypnotism and a few love letters sealed with Finn’s saliva, Land of Nod has graciously decided to help subsidize my lairing addiction by sending out a senior designer from their company to help to create our boys’ rooms. Lots more on this AMAZING experience soon, but if you aren’t familiar with them GO HERE!
I will be giving you full access into how we’re designing things, revealing pieces of furniture, showing some cool before-and-afters and hopefully giving you discounts/promotions along the way. They aren’t paying me for this, but we’re huge fans of theirs. My lairing has officially taken over. Move over pregnant, nesting WIFE!
We’re still in a jungle of boxes but things are coming together. Avara is due in December. My mother’s move down here is due by sometime in November. I want to feel comfortable in this place. My home is where my family resides. But, for the first time, my family will where my home resides, together, in this place between reality and dreaming, my own land of nod.
Do you have any tips for me on multi-generational living? Any cool Land of Nod stuff you think Finn or Prince should have? Post them here!