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Communal Living

Every once in a while, I find myself in a discussion about our living space being in another, completely separate family’s basement. And while it was nothing any of us sought out specifically, after almost a year of living here almost exclusively, I have found great comfort and happiness here.

We have benefited financially, paying less than we would have for a living space. And also by sharing communal groceries and shopping in bulk to save money.

We have benefited materially, by paring down our piles of junk into lesser piles of junk.

I have benefited from the companionship. When you had been a mom for two decades and suddenly you are stuck alone in your silent home for almost 2 years, just hearing footsteps in another part of the house is a comfort. There is life here. I can hear it. And so I feel a little less isolated and lonely when trapped inside by my Health Blahs.

Yes, one of my Housies moved out recently. Yes, I miss her terribly. Our relationship remains untouched by distance, and I will always treasure the house because it gave me that deep bond and friendship and several others. Nothing lasts forever, Kittens, and it’s the bonds that last that matter the most. I pray that our friendship continues, but I only have so much control over that. I will grieve it if it doesn’t survive but am learning to accept the fact that no matter how much I want something, I cannot always make it happen. Progress?

In spite of the change and in spite of the chaos that comes along with sharing a home with a family with young children, this is a place where my family fits, at least for right now.¬† I never know what I’m going to see when I head to the kitchen at mealtime, and it’s usually something ridiculously adorable. Honestly, I feel so much younger for playing and cooking with these little girls, I feel like I should pay them!


  • What, Tiny Expert? You want us all to watch while you perform a magic show? Count me in!
  • Now Feral Dancer’s doing a magic show? Yes, please!
  • What, Jen? You have errands to run and want to take me with you? Yes! I get to knock out my errands, too! (I don’t drive anymore.)
  • What, Phil? You want to write a song on your guitar while I’m cooking dinner? Sure! (I’m a lifelong music geek.)

These are all things I wouldn’t experience if we didn’t live here.

I am happy to say that regardless of what others may believe, this is a place where sunbeams and bubbles are chased while others erupt in delighted laughter. Real laughter, to the extent that tears are rolling and/or you get the unstoppable little girl giggle going and end up gasping for air. Children of all ages laugh and play here, comfortably and safely. Of our kids that have visited us here so far, they have been safe and (allegedly) happy. There is always someone to chat with if bored and Mom is down with a migraine and Chooch is at work. There is always a pet nearby with ears just dying to be skritched.

If it is something you are considering, do it with eyes wide open. You will be eating, sleeping, drinking, pooping (everybody does, and apparently mine is the only poo that smells like rose petals!), sick/healing, exhausted, laughing and cleaning up after each other and those that accompany them. It’s not a decision to take lightly, as both sides are made extremely vulnerable for the duration. Everyone’s pet peeve button will get jammed countless times, and compromise will become your motto, as all here have compromised in one way or another to accommodate the others. But in our case, we really lucked out and it was as near a perfect fit as possible. And although the fit has changed now, I remain happy here.

Whether we are here until September of 2012 or September of 2022, I will always treasure my Housie family and our times together, some magnificent and some heart-breaking. But damn you, Laughter, and the wrinkles you bring when one is lucky enough to laugh this much!

3 replies on “Communal Living”

Inspiring. We’ve moved in with a long time friend. She’s opened her house to us so that we can save money towards buying our own place one day. There will be things to learn and a need for patience as everyone adjusts, but I hope it brings as much joy to us as it has to you!

I am so happy for you. I would love to be so lucky as to do something like that one day. When the boys aren’t here the loneliness is painful beyond words. But, I’m working on making that not be the case. Hugs to you and all of your housemates.

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