Saturday, November 27, 2010

Family Compound


Our house is very quiet. I love having kids home for the holidays, but I really hate it when they leave. When they were little, I encouraged them to do things, to learn things, to experience things. I didn't really understand that this would mean that one would do a stint at ocean fishing, one would swim with sharks, one would bungee-jump in New Zealand, one would become a lawyer, and one would bike and ski like the wind. I didn't really understand that they might go to school or jobs far away. I also didn't understand that they would become smart, interesting adults whose company I love.

I've decided what I'd like is to have a family compound. Not one of those scary ones that has the cellar stocked with canned food and water in preparation for Armageddon. Or one that has stockpiles of guns to do battle with federal agents. I'm thinking more of the Kennedy compound on Cape Cod - a lovely place where the whole family could live, each with their own space, but still close enough to be part of each others lives on a regular basis.

Generations living together isn't a new idea, of course. It used to be the norm and still is in some cultures. Turns out there is a resurgence , now called "multigenerational living". There are many reasons for this - some of course economic, some because elderly parents need care, and some because families have realized that the "it takes a village" approach can make makes raising children easier. Working parents appreciate having parents that can fill in for day care, older parents appreciate the security of having people around and young children get to form strong bonds with grandparents. What's not to like?

I think we could all manage quite nicely in the house pictured above. I hope I don't get assigned to washing windows, though.


  1. I know, mine are growing up too, but for now, we all still live in the same metropolitan area!
    We have some friends who bought 2 houses at the end of 2 cul-de-sacs on parallel streets, which means the 4 houses property all kinda runs together. They probably have about 3-4 acres combined. It is the grandparents and 3 sisters and their families. It is an awesome setup, but now "their" kids are growing up, now what will they do?

  2. Bernice - your friends' arrangement sounds wonderful!

    Just visited your blog - wonderful, insightful posts.


  3. I'm with you there. I would love to have family that close. Well, my mom. And my kids. My step-dad would hate it, though. More's the pity. :-(


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