Families and neighbors

[This article was contributed by Sheryl Owen of changeofaddress.org]

Many families end up scattered across the country these days. Trying to stay connected to parents can be difficult at times. There are those, however, who have not moved far from home. They have managed to purchase or build a home next door to their parents. This type of situation can have many advantages.

Babysitting – With the grandparents next door, babysitters are often available at short notice and without much hassle. Having Mom or Dad watch the kids while you run to the store or even do chores around the house, can be very helpful.

Security – Parents are going to keep an eye on your home when you’re away. They’ll notice anything out of the ordinary faster than the average neighbor. There won’t be any teenage parties at your home while you’re out of town, if Grandpa and Grandma are watching from next door.

Pet sitting – No need to pay for boarding services with parents that close by. Just hand them a key and give a few instructions, and be on your way without any worries.

Family gatherings – No long trips for family gatherings. In addition, you can combine your yard space to accommodate larger numbers of people for summer picnics.

Recipe shortages – You might hesitate going to a neighbor to borrow a couple of eggs or other ingredients that you need to finish a recipe, but doing the same from your parents wouldn’t cause you any embarrassment at all.

Shared rides – When going to visit other relatives or driving to any other destination, you can easily share transportation by riding together, instead of driving separately.

No privacy fence – There should be no need for a privacy fence to be built between your two homes, assuming that your relationship with your parents is a good one.

No overnight visits – With your parents living right next door, you don’t have to be concerned with them coming to stay at your house for any length of time. You can be assured that they’ll come home to their own beds at the end of any visit.

No complaints – You shouldn’t have to worry about your parents complaining about the noise your children make or how early you mow your lawn. Parents generally will give their kids much more leeway than they would other neighbors.

Sharing – Having your parents next door can be a convenience for both of you. You may have tools that your dad doesn’t have, or vice versa. If one or the other needs a few extra lawn chairs, it can be easy to share those types of items with one another, without concern for their return.

As long as you get along good with your parents, they can be the best neighbors anyone could hope for. In a day and age when many families are divided by distance, this is a rare privilege.