When my husband and I began our house hunting, we were focused on Central Jersey. We wanted a big house with lots of land. After 12+ years of living away from home, I was willing to sacrifice proximity to my family to have the house of my dreams.
Last spring, my mom’s wonderfully generous cousins offered up their 2-BR apartment for us to save some money. It was too good to pass up. The best part was that the apartment was right next door to my mom’s home.
After just a few short weeks, settling on Staten Island became a possibility. After another few weeks, Staten Island became our only choice. We saw how wonderful it was to be so close to family. We saw how amazing it was for AJ to be surrounded by cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. We now were willing to sacrifice the two things that initially were the most important to us in order to be a short drive from family.
Fast forward to today. We actually found the home (with the property) that we had planned on buying in Jersey IN Staten Island. And the best part? My parents and youngest sister are a 20-25 minute car ride away. And my older sister and her husband and daughter are a 2 minute drive.
I love living close to family for selfish reasons. But the best reason is seeing how much my son adores his extended family. He wants almost nothing to do with my husband and I when his Grandma and “PaPa” are around.
AJ and I spent the hot day yesterday staying cool in my sister’s pool. My sister and her daughter were there as well as my youngest sister and dad (they help babysit my niece on Thursdays so that my sister can work from home).
The best part about yesterday was seeing how close my son and my niece have become. Since he was born, they have seen each other at least once a week – and quite often, more than that.
Recently, she has really taken on a motherly role with him – she is so loving, caring, and sweet!!
And at other times, they seem to resemble siblings more than cousins – they play nicely together but have had their moments of arguing and fighting over toys!
For the first time yesterday (and without any prompting), my son called for his cousin by her name – at one point, it was over and over again – until she came to him
Watching his face light up when he sees her is the best thing in the world… and is the only confirmation I need that we made the right decision in choosing family over something material.