I'll be the first to admit that the expectations I had of what life with Dad would be like were wrong. Really wrong. I blame TV.
When you think about it-there aren't that many role models for multi-generational families on TV. I can only think of two off the top of my head: Raising Hope and The King of Queens.
If you haven't seen Raising Hope- you should. It's hilarious, with Cloris Leachman as the adorable but senile Maw Maw "leading" a household composed of four generations. The King of Queens was cancelled long ago, but lives on in perpetuity through syndication. Jerry Stiller, a comedic master, played an aged father who lives with his married daughter. Both of these shows are comedies, so they are focused on the lighter side of inter-generational living. Neither of these shows is very realistic.
Don't get me wrong-there are many moments that could be manipulated by some comedic genius to create a sitcom all our own. While I can't say that Dad has ever flashed school aged children while on a field trip (a la Maw Maw), I have caught him wandering around the kitchen in his underwear late at night looking for a snack. Laughing beats crying, so that's what we try to do. That's what I try to do, as much as possible. Fortunately, kids seem to naturally consider ALL adults somewhat absurd, so they cope with Papa accordingly.
The reality of living with a Senior can include way too much time spent at the local hospital to deal with frequent medical emergencies. For us, it includes balancing his standards with our own- house keeping, time spent together, disciplining and setting boundaries for the kids are just a few of the things that we redefine daily. I do appreciate that comedies like Raising Hope and The King of Queens exist as a reminder that things aren't always as bad as they seem and that perspective is everything.
I have to ask though- given that the number of multi-generational families world wide is trending upward (due to the recession, baby boomers, single parents, etc), would it kill the networks to include an extended household in just one family drama? I know, I know-family dramas seem to be a relic of the past right now. Crime and all that is much trendier. I am guessing though that I am not alone in my desire to see families make a comeback.