Kat. This piece really touched me. I recently moved back home with my parents at the ripe old age of 42. I had experienced several tragic events, a serious illness, the death of my wife, and needed a safe place to return to as I tried to rebuild some kind of life for myself. My parents offered a respite from the pain and grief I struggled to deal with. Initially I felt shame and embarrassment at my situation. It is one thing to move back home at your age and quite another to do so when you are supposedly a mature adult. Try to imagine how it would feel to retreat to the safety of “home” when society says that at your age you should be starting your own family and building your own home.

Yet my parents welcomed me with open arms. They did not judge me. Did not look down on me as a failure. Not once did they make me feel less of a person for not “giving them grandchildren” or doing all the other things expected of adult children in America today. Instead they just loved me. Gave me a room. Made me feel special for being me. Of course I still feel like a failure sometimes. But it is society that makes me feel that way, not my parents.

Even though I have a successful career and a good job as a practicing scientist my lack of a wife or even a girlfriend makes me an outsider. What is wrong with me? I can here people think. Why don’t you have a family at your age? Thankfully I I have my mom and dad to support me. I am not sure what I would do if that were not the case.

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Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/mol biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

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