Welcome to the South Side Commune, Population: 8

If you’ve been a friend of mine for more than 30 minutes, you’ve probably heard me joke that you should either move in to my house or move into one of the fourteen houses for sale in my neighborhood. It’s all funny except that I’m not really joking.

My family has always been my built-in support network. I loved living in a house of five people. There was always someone with whom to chat. That’s a good thing when you’re eight, have glasses and braces, and no good friends in the outside world. Oh, and did I mention I’m an extrovert? Very hard to be extroverted when you’re afraid to talk to mean kids. I think that’s why I feel this way: proximity feels good.

So now that I own a home in a place where I’ll likely live for the next 20 years, I’m busily wishing that my entire family and group of friends would move in. When a very good friend of ours sought a temporary place to live, we welcomed her to our home. I was frankly worried about the loss of privacy; however, we couldn’t be more happy. People ask me if it’s weird that she lives with us and I say “no” with a smile. We eat dinner together almost every night; we take walks or hang out while I clean the kitchen (or she cleans the kitchen and I put Ainsley to bed); we have toy fights where Ainsley’s (soft) toys go flying across the living room.

When the house next door was up for sale, I begged my sister to buy it. I won’t go into all the ways the stars aligned, but it’s a miracle that she lives next door.

Some nights, I carry a tray of food to their house. Sometimes I mooch dinner from them. We carpool to the grocery and have started trying to have Spanish-speaking lunches at a local restaurant. I’ve always wanted to have a relationship where we don’t have to make a fuss over coming or going. It’s not that I mind the hugging, it’s that I want us to be so close that we don’t have to. More like “oh, you. Here’s the tray I borrowed.” I knew it would be great to have her family so close but I didn’t know how everyday-wonderful it would be. I got to rock her son to sleep on Monday. The cousin relationship of the kids is blurring into siblingness.

I know I can’t make everyone move to my neighborhood, but I wish that I could.