I just read a surprising statistic this morning: according to a Trulia analysis 40% of Americans ages 18 to 34 were living with their parents, siblings, or other relative in 2015.
I am left speechless by this percentage, yet I'm also left with SO many thoughts swirling around this reality. I choose not to voice most of them, but to consider--gratefully, thankfully, and proudly--the absence of my eight children in that range from the 40%. (I need to post this soon, because in a few months I'll have one in that range, 18 but with a year of high school to go.)
The upper reaches of the 18 to 34 would be the most likely to have gained independence and you five 26-32 year-olds are all caring for families and, as anyone would hope and expect, self-supporting. But you next three, you're the "in between" age range. You're not kids, not parents, not homeowners and maybe not a lot of things--maybe not married, maybe not out of school, and maybe not settled in a career or even your part of the world yet. You three are voted "most likely to be adults still living at home". But you're not.
I had two fabulous weekends to remind me how wonderful and very rewarding it is to see your kids turn into grown ups.
The first weekend was with Shane and Claire, (enjoying a girls weekend away with Lisa) and being the recipients of their warm hospitality. They're juggling a lot--marriage, school, sports, a home, pursuits of medical school, and hosting family with relaxed smiles. They make their share of sacrifices (imagine Shane's 6'7" frame on a moped in all kinds of weather) but they're working hard, and taking responsibility, and they're shining!
We were able to watch a couple of basketball games, too. College basketball hasn't ended up being all that Shane had hoped it would be, on a number of levels. Disappointment is hard to take, but it's even harder to watch when it's served to your kids. The pride, though, in seeing him handle it well, turn it into a positive experience, and grow from that experience has been tremendous. Even so, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see him flourish in a hard fought win over the number one team in their conference. Shane played a big role in defending the inside game against two opponents that Lisa and I nicknamed Thing One and Thing Two. It was a joy to see his huge smile and watch him really enjoy the game he's loved for so long.
The next weekend event was a surprise trip with Keith to Georgia to celebrate Troy's birthday. It was our first trip to his new home in the southeast and, after he got past the utter shock of his Mom standing at his front door (accomplice Bryce had set up the ruse) he showed us around. He's made a marvelously practical choice for his living space and needed to give no typical bachelor apologies as he showed us around (OK, maybe one apology). I love to watch the unfolding of adulthood and see the results of dreams, plans, and trial and error all come together. Troy's confidence knows no bounds!
The surprise continued when Bryce schemed with the restaurant host to take the place of our wait staff and deliver Troy's dessert. Troy was in disbelief as an inappropriately friendly "waiter" leaned from behind him over his shoulder with the dessert and announced, in a heavy accent, "Hello my name is Fronk and I have come to serve you the double chococate...." His laughter was genuine, but it wasn't until Bryce started making up words that he turned around and took a good look at this weird waiter. There's almost nothing better for a mom than seeing her sons genuinely euphoric to see one another.
Bryce, still a teenager, and absolutely the most likely to be living off his parents had made the four-hour drive from his home in another state where he has settled and is making his own way, figuring out his own life, and planning to share it with his bride in a few months. He doesn't have things all figured out, but is ambitiously learning where he fits and how to make changes to get where he wants to go. His trust in God is paramount and the joy of Christ pours from him into the lives of all he touches.
We experienced the combined energy and creativity of these men for an exhausting 24 hours. We laughed at their antics (following their car), relaxed and played (or watched) games, and got to turn a blind eye as they ran over flower garden chasing a football into prized landscaping at the botanical garden (not our "kids", not our problem!").
Three boys, three states, three states of life, on different paths, but all doing it on their own. I'm thankful I only have to imagine what it would be like to be the parent of the 40%.
Just when I think the dust has settled on the 2015-16 basketball season and we can look forward to a typical basketball season we have a whole new set of events going on. The news so far this year have been Shane getting his front tooth knocked out while playing the Minnesota Gophers; Owen's knee surgery and missing the first month of basketball; and the pertussis outbreak at the high school that cancelled all games and practices for Owen and Lisa for a solid 16 days.
Can we just settle down for some nice, quiet basketball already?