Growing Families Stay Put

Castle Park

Oh my word. If you ask me what it is about Cheverly that I love—why do I Choose Cheverly, I can now point to this one article. (Growing Families Stay Put) If you are considering a move to Cheverly, read this carefully. We might not have the largest homes in DC, the boutique shopping right next door or the best local public schools (although some of ours are really outstanding) in the DC area BUT I still choose to live and raise my kids here. And I do that joyfully- ecstatically for many of the same reasons this article mentions.  The story tells of a few families in NYC and their choices to stay in a small living situation because of their strong ties to community. “It’s common practice in New York for families to move for the sake of the children: Parents angle to buy or rent in a more desirable school district, head for cheaper apartments in the outer boroughs or flee these parts altogether in search of suburban backyards and better schools. Then there are the families who stay put — sometimes under less than ideal real estate circumstances — because of close-knit neighborhood relationships, especially those forged among children. These parents are willing to make significant sacrifices in space and living expenses to preserve the uber-local community their families have formed with others in nearby blocks or even inside the same building.” The article talks about a family named the Gilmores, “For the Gilmores, the lack of privacy is a small price to pay for the network of children. In the frigid winter months, up to eight local families switch off hosting each other’s toddlers and preschool-age children indoors for daily art projects, baking and dress-up. In the summer, these families gather for a weekly barbecue in Prospect Park. Most important to the Gilmores, is a family one block over. Their 5 1/2-year-old daughter and the other family’s son have become especially close — a friendship that has fostered a similar intimacy between the parents. Each Friday night, the Gilmores and their friends around the corner cook a large dinner.”

I can totally relate. There are absolutely no large beautiful homes in Potomac, Great Falls, Georgetown or the like that would cause me to move away because of my relationships. Darn. I mean really, sometimes I wish that wasn’t the case so that I could tell my husband we must get a new 4000sqft home, on the Potomac, next to a Starbucks and fun little shops. But honestly, money cannot buy the relationships that have helped me survive motherhood and have given my children amazing parental role models and best friends. And a big home and having nice restaurants nearby would never come close to giving me the joy or long term happiness I have because of our community. Besides that, I can sleep at night because I know crime is low and my neighbors are watching out for me (while my husband is away). Let’s take yesterday for an example. I was supposed to go to work but stayed home with my kids instead. (longer story) We ran some errands during the morning and then made our way to “Castle Park”. I laughed as my boys took to me “Vine Land” where we walked around prickly vines in what seemed like a secluded area (see pictures above) and then we rode our dinosaur (a huge tree that was laying down on the ground) and made up stories. For all we knew, we could have been 1 hour outside of the ‘big city’ but in reality, we were only a 1 mile distance from DC. (love!) We had lunch and walked to our friends for a play date. The friends they played with my kids have known since birth. We have had plenty of dinners, play dates, walks—and this is a family in which I feel a part of. If I were to be in the hospital, they would be my first visitors. Priceless. This family was just starting the process of making dinner for other friends in Cheverly when we left. On the way home we stopped off at our neighbors home to pick up our CSA box and because I had so many greens, we invited our next door neighbors over for dinner. They came over and provided the company I needed while my husband was away and when they left I had plenty of dishes to wash and my boys were late to bed, but I didn’t care. Nope—just grateful that these lovely friends could listen to me ask deep questions about life, suffering, schools, how to raise children etc.

The New York Times article goes on to say, “Some of the building’s older residents have become surrogate grandparents, teaching the children how to garden in the shared backyard and cooking them breakfast. “It’s a big intergenerational building,” said Mr. Ferguson, an administrator at the Department of Education. ‘We all grew into families together. It’s like what I imagined 1930s or 1890s New York to be.’” I concur. Life in Cheverly, for me, is what I imagined life in the 1930ties or 1980ties to be. And that, my readers, is priceless.

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