Best. Decision. Ever.

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. 

Do you live close to family??  
Hope everyone has a wonderful first weekend of summer!! 

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    37 thoughts on “Best. Decision. Ever.

    1. Pingback: More than Jersey Shore or Mob Wives

    2. Precious! We live close to all our family and it is really hard to imagine not being close to them! My kids have cousins their age on both sides of the family and I love their relationships!
      Corrina recently posted..10 in the PMMy Profile

    3. What a wonderful post- so heartfelt and well-written. Glad you have found the place you wanted in the location you wanted it. Living close to family is important. I am a few (short) hours drive away, but I think any further would be tough. Loving the blog as always, keep up the great work, the excellent writing, and the killer running. Rock on!
      Steve (@steverunner21) recently posted..Get “Up”!My Profile

    4. OMG those pictures are too much! I grew up living near my cousins and extended family and it was such an incredible experience. That’s the one thing that I’m a bit sad about for my kids since my brother and sister and their families live out in CA. My boys see their cousins once or twice a year but it’s not the same as seeing them every weekend. But, I also know that for us, living here in NYC is right for our family so there are trade-offs for sure. I’m so happy that you were able to find the house of your dreams and be able to live close to family!!
      Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Scenes from my weekend – AshevilleMy Profile

    5. We live in the DC Metro area, but most of my family are back in Hawaii. I moved to the East Coast for college, and though I missed my family, I did well enough on my own. So I didn’t think I needed family around when I had my own. Biggest mistake I’ve ever made. We are definitely happy where we are, but I wish my son had his bajillion cousins to play with (I come from a large family). We are hoping to move back one day.
      ama_runs recently posted..Goldilocks and the Marathon Training PlanMy Profile

    6. We do live close to family and I’m so thankful. In fact, I’m moving my baby sister (21 yrs old) into an apartment that will put her about 1/2 mile from me and I’m so excited. Ever since my dad passed a few months ago, we all have been spending tons of much needed time together.
      Katie @momslrb recently posted..Do OverMy Profile

    7. I love this post! My husband and I lived in Arizona for four years, so far from New Hampshire and all our family on both sides. We moved back a year before Sophia was born and I am soooo glad we are here. Her grandparents, aunts/uncles and cousin see her weekly. I love that she knows them and that they are so close. The Other day she told
      My younger sister that she was her “best friend.” love family!!!

    8. Being away from family is what has made my hubsby and I hesitant to have kiddies. My family is 2 hours away and his is 6 hours away! Congrats on finding the just right fit! Hopefully it’ll happen for us soon!

    9. I’m going to admit I’m very jealous! All our family (mine and his) is scattered throughout the country. I get a little bummed when I realize that my kids will never have a close relationship with their cousins. The worse is that my parents are so far away. But it’s something that we knew would happen when we decided to move. Be grateful for all the support from family!
      Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..2 YearsMy Profile

      • Thanks, Toni!! California is SO far! We skype with my in-laws – they live in Alaska – it’s great that we have so much technology these days, but you are right – it’s not the same =(

    10. Awesome, Michelle! We really hope to “settle” closer to family, although I doubt it will be that close. We’d love to be within a 3 hour drive! I grew up playing with all of my cousins and have some great memories. It seems so much harder to do that these days, when jobs can take us anywhere…!

      • Honestly, I think distance is all relative. I have some friends who have spent YEARS on the other side of the country so moving to within 3 hours would be like moving next door to them!! Even if we had moved to NJ, we would have been within an hour or so drive. The big thing about Staten Island is the bridges. Having to go over any of the bridges usually means a ton of traffic so although it’s only an hour, it really ends up being hours. LOL

    11. You are right. It is amazing to be so close to family. We are from GA and recently moved to NH. We miss everyone so MUCH!

      • WOW…that’s a big move!!! I think it would be so hard to go from living so close to family to moving. I haven’t lived home in so long so it was amazing to me to see what a difference it made to live close. For so long I discounted the fact that I would need my family =)

    12. Aww I just LOVE this! Family is so so important to me, especially my sisters. As you’ve probably seen in our posts and things, we LOVE being together and now that one of my sisters is a whopping 20 mins away (22 mins to be exact!) vs 5 mins away like she was before, we miss eachother more. We kid around all the time about building a compound to live on, but seriously – that would kind of solve the problem entirely, wouldn’t it??
      Jess recently posted..A wine country bucket listMy Profile

        • Honestly, I don’t think anything beats a sister relationship – esp one like you guys have (or that my sisters and I have). There’s just this trust and understanding that can never be duplicated. I started a post MONTHS ago about growing up with sisters and what it was like…I may need to finish it =)

      • I’m happy you guys are settled down in Austin. I’m anxious to come back out to Texas now – maybe sometime next year. Austin is my favorite city in the US (behind NY, of course!!). I wish I had known you when I lived in TX =(

    13. Those pictures are so sweet! I’m so glad you can be close to family like that–it will be fantastic for AJ, not to mention how great it is to have that support when you need it (like when the next baby arrives!). We have never lived anywhere near family and so we probably don’t know what we’re missing. We go to visit (they’re in another state) and the kids always reconnect w/ their cousins. Thankfully, we live in a neighborhood where most people are transplants, so we have our own little village here that serves as a surrogate family!
      misszippy1 recently posted..How’s a free pair of Mizunos sound?My Profile

      • Amanda – I think we would have moved to NJ and been totally happy had we not moved to SI as a temporary solution to our housing situation. Once we did, I saw what it was like and I was jealous of how close my family was – how often they saw each other…I’d still see them pretty frequently if we lived in NJ, but it would be more formal, extended visits as opposed to the quick stop ins that happen spur of the moment now!! Also, having spent so long in the military, I know how close friends and neighbors become – they really take the place of family !

    14. So true. My sister lives just over the bridge in Bklyn with my son-to-be 1 year old nephew. I love that we can visit on weekends. I wish she was even closer but I’ll take it. My kids love seeing their baby cousin especially since all their cousins on my husband’s side live out of town. :(
      Jen Correa @ Mom’s Gotta Run recently posted..Updates from my WorldMy Profile

      • Jen – that’s like me! My husband’s family is on the west coast and alaska so we rarely get to see them – we are lucky if we see them twice a year =(
        I have a TON of family in Bay Ridge – I grew up in Grant City so it was seriously like a 10 min drive =)

    15. That sounds wonderful! I wish I were close to my family. :( Just curious… You didn’t mention your husbands family. Are you guys close to his family too? I’m a new reader to your blog (Love it! :D)

      • Hey Traci!! Thank you!!! My husband’s family is in Alaska! In a way it made the decision easier b/c we knew we were going to be in this area for my husband’s job…I think people who have two families that are semi-close have a tough decision b/c how do you decide who to live closer to?? =) My husband’s family is absolutely amazing. Just wished they lived closer – we get to see them once or twice a year =(

    16. My family lives an hour away (grandparents, aunts/uncles – no cousins yet) and my husbands family lives in England (grandparents, aunts/uncles and tones of cousins). (we live in Nova Scotia, Canada). I wish we lived closer so our daughter could experience time with her cousins and my husband’s family. But with Skype, we see them once a week, so hopefully when we visit it will be like they’ve know each other forever.
      With baby #2 on the way, our trips to England and those car trips even to Halifax (1 hour) may be a little less frequent :(
      Anna recently posted..Modified workout and WIAWMy Profile

      • Anna – I feel your pain! My wonderful in-laws live in Alaska and my husband’s brothers live in Alaska and Oregon – we don’t get to see them nearly enough =( The 12(ish) hour trip was a lot with one – so I’m sure it’s only going to get more interesting with you!

    17. Watching your kids with family members is just awesome. My kids are sandwiched between their cousins in age. They have 2 older cousins who can dote on them and indulge them. They have 3 younger cousins that they enjoy mothering and be the “wise sages”. It’s perfect!