Sometime after the birth of my first child, I realized just how much I needed a supportive community to cushion, support and teach me, and how much I wanted this same community so I could share, celebrate and contribute to the growth of families around me. We spent some time investigating existing and forming communities in the Seattle area, but didn’t find one that was a good fit. We waited a couple of years, and then after the birth of our second child, we embarked on a three week tour of the New England to visit various established and forming communities.
The only community that seemed right was too far from Lance’s family, so we ruled it out, and decided to move back to the town where his family lives. We hoped that by surrounding ourselves with family we could find community. They were wonderful, but we were exhausted by the reality of living in rural New England; our days were spent in the car driving, driving, driving on winding roads that made our children nauseous and left me weary. Nine months after moving, we were lured back to Seattle by Lance’s former employer. A three month contract led us to a home purchase in the community-rich Phinney-Greenwood neighborhood.
Since moving here three years ago, we have consciously tried to involve ourselves in our neighborhood. We are fortunate to live in a neighborhood where many amenities are accessible on foot. Walking to the library, post office, book store, yarn store, bank, barber shop, grocery store, coffee shop, preschool and farmer’s market turns familiar faces into friends.
However, when some friends were forced to look for new housing options, the subject of cohousing came up again. Pretty soon we had committed to forming Seattle City Cohousing with the stated goal of building an urban intentional community in North Seattle. Our group of three families has been meeting bi-weekly since June as we are committed to expediting the process as much as possible. Ultimately, we hope to have twelve families in our community as the wisdom of elders states this is the ideal number to balance the ability to resolve conflict and still maintain connections.
It is with some trepidation that I embark on this project because I am keenly aware just how much work goes into this sort of effort, far beyond the nitty gritty of finding a property and creating our dream homes. There is also some reluctance to leave our home and neighborhood, but the lure of living with souls I cherish is just too strong. Our children have so much to gain from growing in the company of many adults who nourish and treasure them, and I have so much to offer to generations of children who will come through our community.