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The Stories That Bring Us Together


No matter how thankful I am for our little home, sometimes I do feel that green-eyed monster creeping up on me. The other day was one such occasion. I had the opportunity to check out my cousins' new apartment for the first time. I have many cousins on my mom's side of the family, and two of them, who are sisters, rent this townhouse together. The younger one is married with a baby and the older one is single. The family of three lives in the two upstairs bedrooms and bathroom, and the other sister has the downstairs bedroom and bathroom to herself. They share the living room and kitchen. It's actually one more amazing example of extended families living together to provide community and shared resources. I love it!

This townhouse, though, is amazing. It's in a brand new development on the outskirts of town. It's comfortably right-sized and full of beautiful design elements, like granite countertops and vaulted ceilings and industrial styling throughout. They even have a pipe handrail, which is on my dream list for our own stairs someday. I absolutely loved their new place.

And I couldn't seem to stop picturing my family living in it.

Maybe because it feels so within reach that makes it easy to imagine what it would be like if it was mine. It's reasonably close to Chris's job, there are empty units because it's not fully completed yet, and it's in a good neighborhood. If we really wanted to move there, we could do it.

Then I take a deep breath and force myself back down to earth.

Here's the real truth about this situation: It takes three working adults to pay for this apartment, so we would have to work a lot more than we do to afford it (a lot more). Their rent is likely three or four times what we pay for our house loan. We only have five years left on our loan. We own our home, which is important to us. It's a twenty-five minute drive from the grandparents we can't imagine leaving. We would trade these fantastic neighbors for strangers with whom we would share walls, and we are introverts who don't like sharing walls. We hated apartment living. We would have no yard.

Reminding myself why we made the choice to live where we do in the house that we have brought me back to reality really quickly and left me more free to see this amazing housing opportunity for what it is: the perfect solution for someone else.

I am incredibly thrilled for my cousins. Their apartment is amazing, and I am so excited that they found a way to afford such a nice place in this horrible housing market. Sharing the living space is smart and practical, and the community it affords them is fabulous, especially as they raise that precious child. I would love to see more families follow their example if this living situation works for them.

Every time someone finds a solution to make this life a little less lonely and a little more affordable, that is worth celebrating, and for some people, it may be worth emulating. It's stories like these that I'm excited to hear and talk about to see if we can come up with solutions for this housing crisis we find ourselves in today. We all have different roads to walk, from living on extended family compounds to sharing apartments, from tiny house living to traveling the world in a converted van. These are the stories that bring us together, different as we may seem.

Yes, sometimes I wish my house was a little bit bigger with at least one more bedroom. But this is our way of succeeding in a world that seems so determined to make us fail. This is our story.


If you have your own story to share, I would love to hear from you! Comment below or email me at Diane@smallhomefamily.com.

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