Gail, my daughter and grandchildren, are moving to an apartment about two miles from our current home, and just a few blocks from the kids’ school, which is a big plus for them. I am in the process of trying to buy a condo (and writing about it one Medium) which is five miles from their apartment. If all goes well, my husband and I will move in June. Since my daughter works Saturdays, the kids will be spending at least that day with me each week. I am not sure who will be helping her the rest of the time, although she did mention a stay-at-home mom in her building who offered to kid-sit. Right now, I do a lot for the kids. I take them to school two to three days a week and pick them up three or more days a week. They are also with me all day on Saturdays while their mother works. For a while, in the fall when my daughter was going to college and working full-time, the kids were also with me on Sundays. Since I typically work at least one weekend day, they would have to go with me to clients’ offices. Not an ideal situation.

I will be relieved to give up nightly homework assignments. My grandson, who is in fourth grade, has at least two hours of homework each night and the lessons are designed so adults must participate. He cannot possibly do his homework alone. I average 50 hours or more a week with my work and three evenings a week being an unpaid teacher. I pick up the kids from after-school at 6 pm, we have dinner and start homework about 7:30, finishing up around 10 pm (My granddaughter, a second-grader, has about an hour of homework). As exhausting as it is for my grandson (He sometimes falls asleep during dinner), I believe it is worse for me. I get him in bed around 10:30 and then have to start my own nightly chores. These evening routines will not be missed!

Intriguing to think about how the TV versions of families affect actual families. I doubt if they change how we live, but I believe they influence how we perceive ourselves and our families, making us feel less than or better than whatever the current media spin on families is. I always felt less than as a child, thinking my family was freakish and certainly not as well-adjusted and loving as those on television. I am not sure how my grandchildren view TV families. Because they are bombarded with so much media, the kids seem to be more sophisticated about television than I was, realizing that it is fiction, naturally comprehending that true-life families are more complex than portrayed. They are amazed to discover a movie or show is based on true events. Their default is to believe everything is fictional. I suppose that is healthier than assuming everything is real.

You and I seem to share similar childhoods — the death of our mothers and being left at home with our fathers when older siblings moved out. So much loss and pain. May I ask what happened to your mother?

I was always a writer but lived in a bookkeeper’s body before I found Medium and broke free — well, almost. Working to work less and write more.

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