What's the correct amount of time for a family to live under one roof?

I’m stunned by how many moments in each passing day that are, what I like to call, “throw away” moments. Things you choose not to react to because what would be the point, knowing that speaking your truth, or your mind would gain zero ground in the given situation. This doesn’t happen all that often for me, because as my entire family likes to remind me; I’m “confrontational.” Lately, this label has felt less like a positive, but more like the negative they perceive it to be.

Which of course has me questioning: In our lives that we share with other people, how much of ourselves should we “dumb down” in order to get along? I watch for this in my three girls. I see how they bite their tongues when they don’t agree with me or Yannick, torn between being our “little girls” and being the independent free-thinking women they’ve become over their twenty odd years on this planet. I do it with Yannick when he’s driving me crazy, and he does the same with me when my attitude rubs him the wrong way.

Making the choice to fall silent, rather than stand up for your beliefs/feelings. Is this wise, or is it self-sabotage?

Is this why marriages don’t last?

Is this why children stop calling home, and stop visiting?

Because the burden of “going with the flow” becomes too much?

So many “hmmms”…that my head is spinning.

Perhaps it is because we just spent ten straight days together that has me wondering these things, or maybe it’s just the passing of time in a long-term relationship. Either way I can’t help but wonder if while living and breathing under one roof together are we being our true authentic selves? Are we fully living out loud, allowing our freak flags to fly high and proud, or are we playing it safe? Being the “characters” we think we must be so as not to upset the balance that others require within their own souls to live in peace?

Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm.

I mean there is an element of “playing by the rules” that happens in a family. There are character traits within ourselves that we manage, because, after all we’re all deserving of being happy in our own homes, our own lives, and our own skin. So how do we continue to do this dance all these years later, as we humans, family members, lovers, and partners settle more and more into ourselves? Yannick and I discuss this all the time, wondering out loud to one another if our friends who have met later in life have an easier time of “getting along” in their intimate relationships because both are settled into themselves, or, is it better to grow up with one another? It makes us both go “hmmm” and truly leaves us without any answers, since the only truth we know is that we’ve spent more of our living years together than we ever did apart. Which means we’ve done considerable damage along the way. Treated one another in ways that, one would hope, a mature “together” couple wouldn’t. Plus there is the seemingly constant struggle to communicate in a positive, constructive way. One would think after all these years together, as husband and wife, mother and father to our girls, that we wouldn’t fuck up with saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Yet, despite all this history we still manage to upset the family balance seemingly daily.

How can that be? Isn’t that so strange that after all these years, and all this time together we all don’t have a shorthand that doesn’t offend, upset or get misinterpreted when shared?

Which has me wondering just how long cohabitation should go on for, and how much of it is actually “normal”??? How many years should we all live under one roof? In many cultures, it is not unusual for families to share homes. Mothers and fathers on one level, with children, and grandchildren on another. Sharing all the burdens, and joys of this thing called life, living as one big happy family under one roof.

But I wonder is this ideal, and is it best for everybody involved?

After spending a week and a half with our girls, as well as we all get along, I can’t help but feel that in order for us all to be our best, most authentic selves it is better that we all have some autonomy. We even navigated a few extremely shitty/stressful moments on our adventure with little (not none) drama or upset. But YB and I have noticed that the dynamic in our relationship shifts significantly when we’re living with our girls, and neither of us are really quite sure why that is. I just know one thing for sure, something I didn’t know even twelve short months ago; my girls are adults, I miss the simplicity of our lives when they were little, I miss the structure and the schedules. I miss my youthfulness, and definitely my taught skin, and perky breasts, but I definitely believe that I’m ready for this next phase of my life to begin. I’m ready to be myself, unedited, authentic and true. I’m ready for some space, not because I don’t love them, not because I’m angry, but because I think we’ve all grown, and we’re all ready for the next stage of our lives. The part where we go out into the world and become whole, and hopefully within that self-discovery we gain a couple more son in laws, and some grand babies; beginning yet another chapter in the Bisson family book of life.