Thursday, March 30, 2006

Where the grass might be greener

It seems that people have children, buy a minivan and move out to the suburbs. It might be the secret parent oath that I forgot to pledge.

I love the city. It has everything to offer. Culture, entertainment and community living. It has always seemed to me that this fine city I call home is made up of many little cities that all join together. Every section has a different feel with a different heritage. It's wonderful to be exposed to so many different lifestyles. As a parent, I also value living so close to one of the best children's hospitals in the world.

I didn't always live in the Big City. Nope, born in a village and raised in the big city of the area – population: 16,000. It did draw a large farming community so it had most of the big chain stores and fast food restaurants. I grew up with the same circle of friends from nursery school through high school. As a child I felt stifled by small city living and dreamed of getting out. From the age of ten, I told my parents that I'd be living in the biggest city our country had to offer. They laughed and thought I was cute. When I sold my car, packed my silverware in my luggage and boarded the plane, their eyes filled with tears and looked like their hearts would burst. Even at that young naive age, I hated putting them through that but I had big dreams and adventures were waiting. Plus, I knew they were only a phone call away.

Now that I'm a parent my heartstrings are being tugged at once again. I now have the guilt of raising the grandchildren so far away. I want my children to know their grandparents and I feel like I'm robbing them of a close-knit relationship. They do have Colin's parents nearby but his family is very different from mine. They are older and no longer have the ability to look after small children. Plus I don't think they ever had the same family bond that I grew up in. Aunts, Uncles and cousins were all part of my daily life. His family would only get together with their extended family once a year.

I never saw this coming but having children also made me reevaluate my standard of living. The dream house in the big city would cost at least half a million, while we could be living mortgage free in the small city. Lord knows that we need more room for all their plastic toys!

Children can run and play in the streets in the small city. Here they can play in our postage stamp sized yard while supervised.

It will be strange when our girls are old enough to develop friendships. I won't have the luxury of already knowing their new friend's parents. How will I know it's safe for them to go to that stranger’s house?

All of sudden the big city has turned a little scary for the small town girl but I know it's just the natural worries of being a parent. Do we secretly all want to raise our children, the way that we were raised?

The one reason that Colin doesn't have to fear me pressuring him to move out to the boonies is this.


We can't live without sushi restaurants!

15 Singing the blues:

rhonda said...

Yes, sushi is a great thing! I am in Suburbia, and I always wonder what it would be like to live in the city. But I am very lucky that it is very close and we can go visit the city anytime.

Pattie the Domesticator said...

My 4 year old daughter LOVES sushi, too!
It is hard to live with guilt...living far away from family....depriving grandparents and what not. You have to be true to what works for your own little family. Extended family is certainly important, but so is living the kind of life you love.
PS your daughter is a cutie!

Marcie said...

If you ever have to live in the suburbs just make sure you have a quick route to the city for that sushi fix.

nonlineargirl said...

We live in what to me feels like a small city (I grew up in Los Angeles), but we still face the trade offs: Small yard but a great park within blocks, crime but cool stores. (And we do have sushi, thank goodness.)

It is hard to be away from family. I am not sure how you decide whether to give up the things you love (for you, as well as for the kids) and move closer, or know that your child misses out on close-knit family. Toronto seems like such a great city, I know it would be hard to give it up.

mama_tulip said...

It's interesting, isn't it, how our views change once we have kids? How what we thought was fabulous before kiddos might not be so fabulous after all? I know how you feel, but what matters is if you're happy where you are. :)

chelle said...

hehe....I love it that it is the sushi that keeps you int he city!!! (I prepare California rolls and other delights at home for my half Japanese husband...mmm love them)

Praying for your Prodigal said...

How darling! She's adorable!

My most favorite memories of childhood were spent at my Grandparents dairy farm. A few years back, my husband and three children and I moved to a hobby farm in the area. 11 acres of hobby! There's a certain irony to the name. We had horses, pastures, sweeping back yard, woods, deer, dogs, and cats. It was beautiful. It was a great move for our family...until the kids started growing up, graduating from high school....and.....another irony...moving away from home! After our 2nd child flew the coop--we moved a little closer in and live on 2 acres...with no hobby to work at!

I think what matters more than city or country...are the values we send our children off with.

Diane

Sunshine Scribe said...

I took a similar path to you, grew up in a small town and then bucked that to move to the city. Then 3 years ago we gave the burbs a try for the exact reasons you described. Within 10 minutes we knew we'd made a terrible mistake and sold our house and come back after lasting just over a year. As much as I understand why it works for many people, our family belonged in the city and we'll work hard to balance things out for our son. Plus to make me feel better we moved near a farm in the middle of our urban jungle (Riverdale farm). Awesome.

Mrs. Chicky said...

Hmmm, close family bonds or good sushi. Tough call!

J's Mommy said...

cute pic!

Mom101 said...

I am so with you. I wrote a guest post about this at suburban turmoil last week. I think there's no right answer to where you raise your children--kids are wildly adaptable and if their parents are happy so will they too.

Mocha said...

How could I forget to tell you this? With your cute tagline and everything?

Boca Java is giving away free coffee and I'm posting information on my site soon. Stay tuned! I promised the CEO that I'd help promote it (you know, it IS coffee - and free coffee at that - and GOOD free coffee) so it's a win-win situation.

Bridgermama said...

Right there with ya! I grew up in a smaller city and couldn't wait to move to the big, bright city. Now I am hooked. However, I also live with the guilt of living so far from my family. I think most of this angst actually stems from the amazing guilt trips my parents lay upon me. I have to admit in instances such as these, staying in the big city seems even more appealing!

kittenpie said...

I too love the city, and Toronto isn't like a mean big city, really, despite recent events. It's got nice neighbourhoods and parks and lots of great things for kids to experience, but it's not too scary to grow up in. Having grown up here myself, I revel in the parks and tree-lined streets our city has to offer my girl as she grows. If it makes you feel any better, I never felt isolated even though none of our family lived here - I had my parents and neighbours and friends all within shouting distance. In fact, space kinda makes me nervous...

IzzyMom said...

I'm having the same dilemma. City or suburb? We're in the city now and I've done the burbs/country already. But it's so expensive to live here and our house is so small. Decisions, decisions...

Cute 'lil girl you got there!