AmericaEvery evening, Melissa Anderson and her mother walk in front of the house. The journey through the walnut groves was the same every day, but the conversations deepened.
The pandemic has pushed millions of young Americans to live with their parents as universities close, businesses reduce hours and social isolation decimates the mental health of many. According to Pew Research Center statistics as of July 2020, 52% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 live with their parents. This is the most common way of life for people in this age group and the highest in at least a century.
The experience has not always been easy, as families are forced together to grapple with financial struggles and the threat of contracting a disease that has killed nearly 600,000 Americans. But for some families, this time together is like a gift to bond with parents and siblings.
Anderson’s family considers this unexpected luck. Melissa, 29, is the third child in a family of four sisters. She didn’t spend much time with her parents until she “escaped” Los Angeles last summer and went to live with her parents in Gridley (California). Within a few months, she and her parents formed a relationship like peers.
Melissa spoke up if she was bothered – something she hadn’t always dared to before. Mary and her husband David know that they don’t need to take care of Melissa like they did when they were young, and they don’t feel responsible for their children. During a stressful year on the outside, their family is calm on the inside, taking care of each other.
“We were all scared, not knowing what was going to happen and that helped us understand each other better,” Melissa said. She believes her parents now understand her better than any other child.
She also became so comfortable with her parents that a few months before her friends were vaccinated and returned to Los Angeles, she said her parents were going for the summer, in case they were afraid she wouldn’t. “One evening Melisa told us about it. We had to pretend how happy we would be if she moved back,” said Mary.
In fact, the story of children moving back to live with their parents over the past year has been both stressful and joyful. Many Americans trade their independent lifestyle for movie nights and get-togethers. Many people have tried a few generations of cohabitation for the first time and really like it.
For decades, the percentage of young adults in the United States living with their parents has been steadily increasing, after hitting a low point in the 1960s. This practice became especially common during the Great Depression and continues to rise. up even after the economy recovers. Psychology professor Jeffrey Arnett (Clark University), who studies young people, said this change is due to young people delaying marriage, going to school longer. The financial and social situation is increasingly shaky for those in their 20s and has made living at home all the more appealing.
“The pandemic is tough for all of us as parents, and it’s harder for our kids. They’re the group most likely to have their work, education, life disrupted,” Arnett said.
Derek Daniels’ three-week trip to his parents’ house last summer turned into a 10-month vacation. Not only is his childhood home in Burlingame warmer than his empty Los Angeles apartment, but he also enjoys more time with his sister. “When can you go back to being 24 and live with the whole family for almost a year? When the outside world is falling apart, it’s nice to be together,” Daniels said.
However, not everyone likes to return home. Josephine Cheng, 24, doesn’t want to leave San Francisco for Chino Hills, her hometown. But because of financial problems, she was forced to agree to share a bathroom with her teenage sister. “I kept telling my mom, ‘I can’t wait to move out. I fantasize about apartments and now a year later she’s asking me, ‘Did you hear when the office will reopen? ?”, Cheng said.
For Melissa Anderson, Gridley’s hometown was never where she wanted to be. But last summer, when the lease on her one-bedroom apartment in Pico-Robertson was coming to an end, she faced the prospect of living a year alone. So, for the first time since high school, she moved home. Her mother’s hugs made her heart ache because it had been too long since she had touched anyone. Sometimes she felt like she was back in her childhood.
To live together, she and her parents set boundaries. She and her father, a high school teacher, figured out how to both work remotely in the same house.
“When they’re young, you’re more of a parent. Now, less of a parenting role, become friends. She’s a very good housemate,” said David.
And Melissa and her mother have a daily ritual of walking down the street at sunset. This time allows mother and child to understand each other in a new way. Mary used to think Melissa was a reserved person and lacked the necessary equipment for life, but now that they understand each other, the wall separating them has fallen.
The mother and daughter talked about a variety of topics about dating, religion, money, family relationships, and life goals. Thereby Mary realizes that Melissa can be happy to be married or not, and whether she becomes a confident woman or not will not depend on other people’s opinions. “I didn’t trust her before. Now I want to be her friend,” Mary said.
Psychologist Arnett says parents are now looking for different relationships with their children, from power to equality. Over the past year, Arnett’s college daughter has lived with the couple and created many opportunities for her and her parents to get to know each other.
Adriana Barba, 29, started paying a lot of bills for the family when her mother lost her job due to the pandemic. As the virus spread, she advised her family not to wear shoes indoors. And when her mother was infected with nCoV in July, Barba planned to prevent the rest of the family from infecting, by wearing a mask and isolating in separate rooms. In the end, no one tested positive.
“I honestly feel like I’m the mother,” Barba said. She said she wants to live alone, but because of her family, now “my plan is to move somewhere nearby so I can continue to take care of my family”.
Melissa, after vowing to leave Gridley for the summer, put down a deposit on a new apartment in LA in May. She and her parents agreed that it was necessary to move on with their own lives, even if they were afraid to say goodbye. However, she decided that if she had children one day, she would move closer to her parents, something she never thought of. Now, her apartment in LA will feature more family photos than before.
“I would never say the pandemic was a blessing. In fact, it was horrible, it caused a lot of pain and hurt. But it put everything in place and taught me the kind of life I want to live after.” girl confided.
On a recent weekend, Mary and David helped their daughter move. David also completed the built table for his son. Before sunrise, the three pulled each other off the usual walking path. This time, Mary left and did not return as she did with her mother a year ago.
Bao Nhien (According to the Latimes)