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Where Have All The Children Gone?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

That's our neighborhood. Lovely isn't it? We're a ten minute drive from downtown, which is super convenient but also far enough away from the "action" that this part of town is relatively quiet. The beach, Granville Island and major bus routes are all just a short walk away. This 'hood is popping with coffee shops and trendy restaurants and cute boutiques. And check out the view of the mountains off in the distance! I LOVE that view. Our neighborhood is very newlywed-friendly and we love living here. 

There's just one thing missing: children. No, I don't mean ours but children in general. 

If everything goes according to plan, Alan and I have at least another full year or so before we become parents. But with babies *hopefully* on the horizon, I've been noticing families more. Correction: I've been actively keeping my eyes open for families. While I occasionally see a mom strolling down the street, her little one in a trendy stroller with a coffee cup holder (note to self: must get one of those!), these sightings are few and far between. There really aren't many children here at all. 

I get that cities in general aren't usually considered an ideal place to raise kids. When you add the financial expense of living in our particular neighborhood it makes city life an even less ideal choice for families. We've played around with the idea of moving to the suburbs, where housing is more affordable and young families are more common, and it's certainly tempting. I completely understand why so many of my peers are choosing to make that choice, and I support them in that because it was the right step for their family. But is that the right step for us, for our family? I'm not so sure.

Alan and I didn't just choose this particular neighborhood because of its location or the amazing dining options it offers. We chose this neighborhood because we felt called here ... so much so that we only looked at apartments in this part of town! We strolled the streets and phoned landlords whenever we saw a "For Rent" sign. It didn't even occur to us to look downtown or in other areas because we felt that God had a purpose for us somewhere within this 20-block radius and we wanted to be obedient to that. 

We're still trying to figure out exactly what that purpose is, but I do know this much: this neighborhood of ours NEEDS families. It needs the squeals of little ones running around parks and green space. It needs the innocence and joy that children bring to a community to off-set the materialism and superficiality that is so prevalent here. It needs pillars; people who are willing to put down roots and commit, for better or worse. Vancouver is arguably the most transient city in Canada. Many, if not most, of Vancouver's residents are originally from somewhere else and are here for school or work or a year of living abroad. In a place where homesickness abounds and feelings of isolation are common, families are needed to help bridge the gap - to love and embrace the lonely, to mentor and support those who are far from home. To help create a sense of normalcy among the hussle and bussle. 

I'm not saying it's the right choice for all families. But the more I think + pray about it, the more I believe that it may just be the right choice for ours. 

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