Boomerang kids are those kids who slingshot back home as young adults. Post-recession career-type jobs were hard to come by, and most parents had a twenty-something that regretted living in the basement as much as we missed our freedom. Entry-level jobs didn’t pay rent and a student loan; it made sense the spare bedroom went back to its original squatter.
Having the kids back home wasn’t troublesome, it was just impinging on the freedom we had found. Heaven forbid a boomer parent might revert to old habits from Before Kids, like not getting dressed, really, or finding an old joint in the shoe box in the closet, or discovering romance and loud music in the middle of the day.
So now that we have retired, guess what? We’re the ones moving boxes across country to live close to the kids, and maybe the grand kids. New friends here in my cross-country destination are in this category. We read the articles about retiring in Costa Rica, or the ten charming small towns with low costs of living. We visited lifestyle developments in Florida and Arizona. Life on a beach and a drink with a paper umbrella and converting dollars to pesos while you shop along cobblestone streets would be great. But our grandchildren don’t live there.
We need a name, we of this demographic, and I suggest Boomeringues. We aren’t boomerangs, we’re not going back—we’re the Nanas, the Gagas, and the Omas and the Papas (cue Mama Cass). We know how to bake a lemon meringue pie or meringue cookies, and we might even do that for a holiday, but it’s that nice, grandma image that Boomeringues implies. One thinks of a rosy-cheeked Grandma with wire-rimmed glasses and an apron. Just like us. Ahem.
The nuclear family was an anomaly of the nuclear age. Ethnic groups have different traditions about who stays home and for how long, but the large families of the post-War years posed practical problems, too, for those with houses in post-War tracts. Many families, 2 parents, 4 kids, managed in 3-bedroom ranches and ramblers with one bathroom. A busy morning and the bathroom line-up right after Trix cereal and Flintstone vitamins, fighting over who was next – ah, don’t miss those days. The generation gap was real, arguments were loud and distance was a convenient response. Adult friendships with our children are a great gift; besides, we like the same music.
I was jealous of childhood friends who had grandparents close by, and who had Sunday dinners at Grandma’s house, or had two generations attend the junior high play. Near-by support on tough days parenting helps, too. So maybe this intergenerational trend is a healthy reversion.
We’ll see. We can start a geezer rock group, the Boomeringues, or the Omas and the Papas. Is your turntable ready? “All the leaves are brown, and the sky is gray…”