My New Roommate: A Grandson

Today’s post comes from Crystalbay

A few days ago, my 21-year old grandson, Conner, approached me about living here for a while.  My first reaction was, “Oh no!!  What if it doesn’t work and I’ll be in the position to tell him to leave??!!”.  It was a beautiful summer afternoon and, as we sat together on the lake swing, I decided to take the risk.

Conner, a formerly heavy pot smoker and a somewhat aimless kid, had gone to the U of M for two years, then dropped out, saying he hated it there and wanted to be a personal trainer.  The whole family worried that this young man was lost.  He took a pricey personal training course.  Still, we wondered how this slender kid could possibly make a career out of a profession in which so few can succeed.
That was then; this is now.  Conner just won a national natural body building competition one month ago out of 70 men older than himself.  He’d worked out for a year and sculpted his body into near perfection.  When I saw him on that stage, I couldn’t believe the transformation.  His career “stock” shot through the roof, and he now has enough clients to make a solid living.
When he moved in a few days ago, he made the upstairs his own, putting my furniture in the closet, rearranging everything, vacuuming, washing floors, putting his own posters on the walls, etc.  Since then, he’s mowed the lawn, gone on errands, put every single dish in the washer, taken the garbage out, and introduced me to new Netflix series.
Every morning, he makes his bed even though no one goes upstairs but him.  We respect each other’s space and, thank God, he has no interest in watching TV.  Each day, we find time to sit on the lake swing and share everything from our day to childhoods to politics.  I must admit that I’m doing my best to shape him into an ardent progressive. I did worry about feeling invaded after so many years of quiet solitude, but now find myself looking forward to him returning from his day.
I sense that this is a very important summer; more than previous summers.  The new but growing bond is forever.  Without this opportunity, I may never have known my grandson.  I’m even thinking about how much I’ll miss his daily company when he moves on, but I’ll enjoy the moments we have for now.
Yesterday, he asked if I’d teach him how to play the piano.  Today, I asked him to come to a nearby fitness club and create a free weight lifting routine for me. He and my daughter are competing in the same contest in August. He’s now proposing that he, his mom, and I could compete together one day.  Imagine that; three generations! I’d win because I’d be the only one in the over-70 class. Our daily routines blend together seamlessly and our gratitudes for the smallest exchanges, a hug, a peanut butter sandwich, music he’s introducing me to, and, most of all, our appreciation for sharing this most beautiful piece of earth.
Yes, this will be a summer to remember.

56 thoughts on “My New Roommate: A Grandson”

  1. Glad your grandson has found something he enjoys and is passionate about – and glad you and he found space to be together, in all senses this summer. When I found myself out of work 8 years ago I spent some time being essentially a PCA for my dad (between his memory issues and decreasing eyesight, he was no longer able to be home alone). I am glad for those days with my dad, even though it was hard sometimes when I could tell that the dementia meant he didn’t have the right words and I had to figure out what he really was trying to tell me.

    Enjoy these days – what a gift.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A heartwarming story. So often, we older folks are quick to write off young kids fresh out of high school or college. I try to remember how confused I was about what I wanted to do with my life back then. I also remember what great capacity for change all of us have once we find some motivation or purpose in our lives. Congrats to Connor and I hope he goes on to even greater things.

    Congrats to you as well, Crystalbay, for taking a chance on an unknown and making it work using love, respect, and compassion.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 4 people

  3. What a beautiful story. Good for you for taking a chance and kudos to Connor for finding purpose and passion in life. May we all be so lucky. Have a wonderful day!


  4. Thanks for sharing this story on the Trail, CB! What a wonderful sounding summer!

    One Summer to Remember was at the end of my junior year of college (1969). An older friend who had graduated and moved to San Francisco, living with two other girls in a 4-bedroom apartment near the Golden Gate Bridge. They needed a fourth to pay the rent, and my folks let me go if I could manage to fly myself back home for senior year. What a summer! I came this close to not returning, but did in the end…


  5. I join others in hoping this arrangement continues to go well, Cb. I was initially surprised to hear that Conner had hit a rough patch when he was in college. He was a funny, happy kid.

    After reflection, I realized that the children of most of my friends are finding the transition from kid to adult life pretty challenging these days. A friend has two sons, both of whom seem unable to launch an adult life. My hunting buddy’s two sons had extended adolescences, with one getting tangled up in drugs. A young adult family member is living at home in his 20s, happily letting his mom do his laundry and the cooking. These young people are not “boomerang” kids (who leave but come back) because many seem unable to leave.

    After reflection, I wonder if the “normal” transition from adolescence to adult life is now the exception, not the rule. If so, I’m not wise enough to venture an explanation. My first impulse is to say it feels like the economy is not very welcoming to young people these days.

    FWIW, my sense is that the sons and daughters of baboons are doing remarkably well compared to others their age.


    1. Steve, I think you’re right that the economy is not very welcoming to young people these days. That may not be a full explanation for why the transition from adolescence to adulthood is difficult, but it is certainly a factor. The high cost of living, the difficulty of getting a well-paid job, high student loan debts, the necessity of having things like laptops, smart phones, etc. that didn’t exist (or weren’t as necessary) when we were that age, all add up to a very unwelcoming economy, in my opinion. It ain’t easy to live on your own. There may be other factors involved – being happy to let mom do your laundry and cooking certainly don’t help – but the economy is certainly a factor.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Thus far, three of my daughter’s five kids are clearly “out of the woods”. Just two more to go. It may take a little longer for these two to gain traction in the real world because they (both girls) have only one goal: to get rich. The problem is that this goal requires hard work, something neither one seems very interested in. Passion and motivation seem to be the keys for young adults to establish a viable life.

    In my “day”, kids went straight from high school onto college, took a couple of years of prerequisites, and only hoped that some magical major would emerge to lead us out of the forest of uncertainty. In my case, it was a Mrs. degree.

    Mary’s oldest daughter, Bree, is currently quite angry with me because she’s moving back here after two years with a boyfriend in AZ and, unbeknown to me, had planned on asking to live here. Our personalities clash severely, so that would be a train to disaster!

    Whenever a soon-to-be empty nester tells me that she’s heartbroken to see her child take flight, I reassure her that he/she will be back several times before leaving for good. I vividly recall being emotional each time one of my kids left home, only to learn that there’d be a few more times before they didn’t come back.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I don’t see either of our children coming back. Son and Dil areare happily employed in Brookings, SD. Daughter is a senior in college talking about grad school in Social Work.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think this particular recording from youtube is the same as the one I have here, but I have this song on her album Imagine.

        I have 10 of her albums (or some of the songs from 10 albums, since I don’t always download the entire album), so there are quite a few out there.


  8. My 3 boys are all doing well, The oldest went right into the Marines after high school. When he was discharged, he entered college and found a room on his own. Second son started at U of MN after high school in the dorm first year. Then he and oldest brother got their own apartment together while finishing college at of U of MN. Youngest is starting college in fall and has an apartment lined up. Although he is special needs and will require supports for a while with his autism, I am very proud of each of them.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. the sunday morning interview mentioned garrison has high functioning autisim and i recognized what i hadnt been able to put my finger on before. my brother in law and 2 special needs sons and a daughter sandwiched in the middle. they all do great the oldest has an autisim i recognize the youngest has what is likely a form i dont recognize. it is nice to see how well the acclimate and adjust as they grow. the oldest starts driving this year, wow. it is amazing what they can do.

      cb your grandsons muscle tone int he picture looks perfect. not popping out of his skin like schwartenager or charles atlas. it looks like he has the body everyone would lve th have with the proper tone and proper muscle mass. 3 generations might not be a bad idea. team motovation is a strong drive.


      1. There are two levels of body building competition: physique and body building. The latter are the bulky guys; the former is having a well-chiseled upper body. Conner’s in physique and plans to stay there. His father was a regional champion; his mother Miss Minnesota of Natural body building. Being in the “natural” league means taking a pee test and a polygraph to insure that no drugs were used. With both parents in this avocation, and with eating healthy, how could these kids not follow suit?

        There’s so much more to this than having bulky muscles. What I learned from Mary is that your muscles can be exceptional, but that the diet leading up to a competition “peels back” the body fat to the point where the muscles are revealed. Kinda like a snake shedding its skin.


  9. A great story CB! Congrats to you and glad it’s working out well.

    When my wife, Kelly, was starting college she moved in with her Aunt and Uncle. It was a life changing experience for her as they had a much more positive loving relationship than she was experiencing with her parents at home. That that became a ‘win-win’ for me a few years later!

    We sort of hoped maybe our son would live at home for a while after college, but for now, they’re doing well and both gainfully employed and living in Burnsville.
    But you never know! We have friends whose children moved back home in their 30’s between living in Thailand and getting new jobs. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. burnsville is a nice distance. 4th of july and birthdays are easy but you dont have to be feeling like the weekend needs to be a get together 3 out of 4 weekends. in you life thats ok for brunch but not evenings right?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, Burnsville is a nice distance. In fact they’re coming for a visit Sunday.
        Biggest issue is son is working nights.

        He got a new job a couple months ago; Security at HCMC. (Hennepin County Medical Center). Right downtown Minneapolis and a level One Trauma facility. He seems to be enjoying it. As part of training he had to be tased and pepper-sprayed.
        The other day I asked him if he’d had to tase anyone yet. No, but he had arrested a naked man.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. hcmc is a real test ill bet. it is the place where they send the people who the other hospitals dont want.
          where does he hope to go with the path. do they make him wear sleeves?

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Sleeves AND an undershirt from what I’ve seen.

          It was always a toss-up for him between Law enforcement and medicine. He graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice and he’s got an EMT certification so this job gives him a good opportunity to see both sides. And he’s talked recently about going back to paramedic school. So I’m thinking he may be shifting towards the medical side. But we’ll see.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. what an interesting time to follow that path huh?
          he could likely write the manual for behavior and concerns. he sees them as he comes up. others dont because thats the way its always been

          Liked by 1 person

  10. i love having my kids come back. i wish i could offer to do soemthing for them other than buy them a coffee but it sure is good to see them.
    oldest in reno making his way. doesnt want a job, wants to work as he goes under his own terms. daughter married and hates her work but super capable and responsible. sone int he basement doesnt want to work for himself. wants a damn paycheck 9/5 daughter the performer who is acting to allow her to get a job to pay for her love of acting singing. 15 year old got her permit and is going to marry rich she should be fine. she will luck into fame and fortune. planning isnt all its cracked up to be. she is always 2 hours early and prepared for everything she does. what the heck is that all about. kids are interesting as can be, no pot smokers and only minor run ins with other issues self medicating. i guess i taught them something worthwhile.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I would never want to parent a teenager in these times! It’s kinda funny with my story because I figured all sorts of stories about the roommate from hell would be appearing. I’ve never really had a roommate having been married to two men for 40 years. And, sure as hell, I never viewed them as roommates!


    1. wow man
      far out…
      i saw the light shows in minneapolis and they were cool but this guy really was into it.
      i never did acid or lsd at a concert to trip but getting a good buzz on made the night slide into a nice zone. the light shows were as much a part of the concerts i saw (at the armory if i remember right) the food coloring and oil in water on the overhead projector made a very cool effect. thanks bill a very cool article


    2. Oh my goodness! This was AWESOME! I’ve got some fancy lights and gizmo’s that do something sort of similar and that has lead to discussions from my theater elders about these light shows.
      Thank you Bill for posting this.
      What a trip!! To think this guy has these stories!! And they’re (mostly) real!


      1. I don’t know why I didn’t also think of you, Ben, when I posted this. I’m glad you found it as fascinating as I did.


        1. it was blow you away stuff when the show was going on. the music at those times was suspect. the show i am remembering was one with 10 bands, iggy popp and the stooges, canned heat country joe and the fish but the light show was a constant

          Liked by 1 person

  12. If I wished to, I could tell a “roommate from hell story,” but I’d rather not say much about it. My finances have been a source of distress for years. At one point I tried to fix things by taking in boarders. For about six months I shared my home with a middle-aged couple.

    It didn’t go well. The husband was a dear man whose company I would have enjoyed, had we met under any other circumstances. His wife was mentally ill. She had a few spectacular meltdowns, and even in her good times she was barely able to hold herself together.

    They moved to Coon Rapids, which was a relief to us all. I wasn’t fond of her, and she couldn’t stand me. After washing the forks and spoons, I put them in the dish rack the wrong way. I didn’t recycle the way she thought I should, and she was shocked at my lawn maintenance. You know, it is hard to live with roommates when you are in your sixties. It was sweet to wave goodbye to them, although I felt sorry for Coon Rapids.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Morning all. I only had an empty nest for a year, when Young Adult was off at Eau Claire. Now’s she’s home, going to school here and has announced that she’s going to be here for awhile – she’s a senior in college but is planning grad school. And she’s also said that she won’t be moving out until she can really afford it. I may have her forever!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I had a very strange house mate once. Nothing terrible but very very weird. Scarlet (the Irish Setter in residence at the time) didn’t like her at all. Once when housemate left her room door open, Scarlet went in and peed on housemate’s white rug… and not just a quick squat. She started at one corner and peed diagonally the entire length of the rug. It was ruined – but very very funny.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. No, housemate had no discernible sense of humor. I ended up getting her a new rug. But even back then I thought it was funny, so price of a new throw was well worth it.

        Liked by 2 people

  15. My sister and I were roommates all of our growing up years. It was never harmonious or quiet, never dull, and usually pretty messy. What do you expect when you confine to very different girls to a small room with only two beds, a small desk and a chair?

    Over the years I lived under the same roof with a lot of different people, often in less than ideal circumstances, and yet, it has usually worked out pretty well. My one year of actually having a roommate, Annette, with whom I shared a room in a dorm-like building in Basel, is a longer story than is appropriate here. Perhaps I’ll tell about it in a guest post.


  16. these blogs do kind of take on a life of their own. i was wondering where this would head off to and look where we are.

    i had room mate problems with everyone but my brother while we were gorwing up. actually come to think of it he left my house when he was a tennant under a mild duress i got a pickup truck and a bass guitar out of the deal.

    i had druggy roomies, party roomies, odd roomies
    roomies that were yin to my yang
    a wife who thought she was a roommate and one who wished she was.
    thanks cb for the great kindling for the fire.
    thanks baboons for the fuel
    i love this blog

    thanks dale where ever you are.

    Liked by 2 people

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