My family moved to my hometown when I was just five years old. Since then the majority of my family has lived in the same town. It was really nice growing up having my nephews and nieces who were really close in age to me so close by and getting to grow up with them. I never really knew my cousins or aunts and uncles when I was young – and I still don’t really know my cousins or aunts and uncles because they’re a lot older than me and our extended family got really spread out.
I’ve always appreciated how close my family is. I guess I have always taken for granted the fact that we are so close. I’ve always hoped that my kids would experience the same closeness with their cousins and second cousins and first cousins once removed, that I did and continue to experience with my nieces and nephews. But it has always been a fear of mine that our family would spread out and grow apart before my kids ever got to experience this.
For a while it looked like my family were all putting down roots in my hometown, with the exception of my oldest brother, Chris, who lives about 40 minutes away. But the reality is that the houses my family members live in in our hometown – with the exception of one – don’t really fit the families needs anymore and the housing prices are ballooning out of control!
David and I have been looking for and dreaming about a house of our own that we could live in, with space for us and my mom. But the things in town that would suit our needs are about $100,000 more than we would be comfortable spending. My sister, Eva, and her husband, Tom, have already concluded that they would be better off going to settle closer to Chris. My sister, Mary, and her husband, Bill, are looking for a four generational home… Without a whack-load of money to spare just hanging around – and due to some messed up bylaws – this is next to impossible to find in our hometown.
Let me tell you about some of the rules that make this town harder for finding housing…
WARNING: sarcasm and grumpiness ahead…
– In an effort to deter rental properties in our wonderful hometown, city Council has made it near impossible to get widened driveways. They think a good amount of cars that are allowed to be parked at houses should be one, maybe two, three if you’re lucky! If you need more cars than that you must be renting part of your house out to someone, clearly! And they don’t like that. Renters are riffraff, didn’t you know?
– There is a finite amount of entry-level houses built in our beautiful hometown. There are a few developments of condos that you could live in, and there are townhouses in little bubbles in certain areas of town. But no new condos, or townhouses are going to be built anytime soon. The reason is that these houses also attract the lower riffraff. But by having a finite number of these houses it forces the price upwards. So, people who can afford to live in townhouses and condos but can’t afford a freehold detached home 40 minutes away in any direction don’t deserve to live here.
– While the rest of the world it seems (or at least the GTA) tries to figure out ways of lessening their carbon footprint by doing things like taking public transit, our town has heard the cry of its people and agreed not to put in public transit. No buses, nada. You see, people who would take the bus instead of their car are probably not the kind of people they want in their town.
(END: sarcasm and grumpiness)
With all of this going on, it makes me kind of unsure if this is a town where I want to raise my kids. But the problem is, that I want to raise my kids near my family. I want my kids to know their cousins, I want my kids to know there aunts and uncles… The way I don’t know my cousins, the way I don’t know my aunts and uncles… But the way I do know my brothers and sisters and my nieces and nephews. I don’t know how we’ll be able to make this work without everyone living in the same town, already we don’t see each other as much as we used to.
Just due to the fact that there is such a large age range between me and my sibs there will be a big age range between my kids and their aunts and uncles and cousins. But I hope – I pray – that we will be able to stay close and that my kids will know my family the way that I want them to, and that we don’t move too far away from each other for that to happen.