So, early this morning, my mum and dad (nanny and grandad P) flew back home to Spain after living with the Writeonmum family for 2 months…yes, that’s right – TWO WHOLE MONTHS!! It has been a funny old, surreal 8 weeks of ups and downs: laughter, cuddles and kisses, drinking, Christmassy merriment and fond trips down memory lane but there’s also been some tears, grumps, lip biting and general pulling my bloody hair out in frustration moments. Well, could you, as an adult with your own family, live with your parents for two months without it getting a little bumpy along the way? And what’s more, could your husband cope with your parents for two months? Well, big bloody pat on the back (and payments in kind ;-)) for Stressed Husband because he did it with dignity – and lots of nipping out of the house – late nights at work, walking the dog and trips to the gym – he’s never been so blooming fit! While they lived with us, we were a family of 7: Nanny and Grandad P, Mean Teen (who – I wouldn’t say willingly – gave up her room for them and shared with Little Angel), My Boy, me and SH and our big, bouncy black labrador, Troy. Cosy for a mid sized semi detached 4 bed house? Or cramped? Depended on how we all got along that day. Here’s what I thought:
What I loved about the last 2 months:
* Watching the kids bond with nanny and grandad in a much deeper way than could ever be achieved with a quick Sunday visit.
* Noticing that mum and dad have been together for almost 50 years and yet they still adore each other.
* Watching my dad get fitter each day as he recovered from his heart operation and enjoying making Troy’s daily walk his job.
* Nanny being able to get the kids to eat their veg, tidy their rooms and get up in the morning much more easily that I could ever do. Her tactic was to be sweet old nanny, mine is being mad faced mum.
* Babysitters on hand whenever – result!
* How they called our laptops ‘machines’ They would peer over my shoulder while I was on the computer and muse “Cor, look at what those machines can do! tut tut, can you believe it? Bloody marvellous.”
What I didn’t love that much about the last 2 months
* Nan’s early morning fag. She might have blown the smoke outside the back door but the smell still wafted to our room at the top of the house and was my early morning wake up pong for the last 8 weeks.
* Shuffling! Argh. The noise of shuffling slippers across smooth wooden floors grated on the nerves big time…especially when I was working and wanted peace and quiet!
* Me and SH being relegated to the other sofa because mum and dad nabbed our favourite – it made watching TV that little bit less comfortable. Mind you, who wants to watch TV when the most exciting viewing we’ve had for two months was The Life and Times of ukulele playing George Formby. (Grandad to Mean Teen: “Better than that stupid Essex thing on the other side isn’t it?” Mean Teen: NO Grandad It’s not actually! Well, that’s what she was thinking, but what she really said was: “Erm, yes, it’s great Grandad…*fixed grin*).
* Grandad’s talking, whistling and singing through anything that we might want to watch on TV…until we turned over to his George Formby type programmes and he’s suddenly nice and quiet!
* Nan and Grandad getting all stressed when one of our mobiles would beep with a text/email (God forbid my mobile should ring and I wasn’t there to answer it!) Mum’s shuffling would go into overdrive as she tried to locate beeping phone and dad would stop doing his crossword until whoevers phone was beeping was safely handed to its owner. “Well, it could have been something important” No mum. When I’m taking a shower upstairs and I’ve left my phone in the kitchen to charge, you do not need to shuffle up to my room, stand outside my bathroom door and shout that I need to get my phone quickly because it beeped. There is such thing as voicemail nowadays. And emails/texts do not need to be answered immediately – the phone won’t combust. I promise.
* Deafness. Ok, this isn’t their fault. And I will be the same one day. But how annoying is it when Little Angel shouts something to me down the stairs and I can hear it, but mum and dad both shout over each other “AY? WHAT? Who was that? Was it the little ‘un? Not sure. Could’ve been the television. What does she want? Is she okay?” Mum. Dad. Please. Stop it. I heard her. It was the little ‘un. She called ME, she just wants a sandwich. That’s all. Please don’t panic.
Anyway, reading this blog post has made me realise there’s probably a blooming good comedy sitcom to be made out of the London born and bred extended family…Remember Grandad in Outnumbered? And Catherine Tate’s Nan? So funny because we recognise them in our own families or old people that we know. And thinking of some of the things my mum and dad have said or done over the past two months, no matter how annoying in real life, could be golden nuggets of TV brilliance. But when all is said and done, and mum and dad’s flight touches down in Malaga, I know they will be thinking happy thoughts of the times we’ve just shared together and I will be missing them and thinking the same…on my sofa, watching my programmes.