the family road out of stockholm

Our neighbors knocked on our door today bearing gifts.  They are moving, and they offered us some really nice baby toys for little BT (we took them even though we do not have space because the boy has an attention span of about 30 seconds so anything that keeps him happy for, say, 45 seconds, we will take).

I am not surprised they are moving.  They have a child, about 18 months old.  It is time for them to get in lockstep with the rest of Stockholm.

See, there is a steady life path now in this age of Sweden’s baby boom and housing crunch.  You start as a couple living in the city, maybe down near the water or near some cool restaurants and bars.  Then you move to an inner suburb, like ours, and have your first child.  Then, a year or two later, or when the second is on the way, you move further out to a condo or house in the outer reaches of Stockholm.

This is not like America, where all sorts of race and class issues drive the path.  This is about space.  Apartments are really really small downtown.  They are only marginally bigger where we live.  And you get the house at the end of the rainbow.

This all makes a sort of middle class, aspirational sense, but what strikes me is how universal it is.  We are in a building of about 50 apartments.  We are the only family with more than one child and one of two with a child older than two years old.  It is useless to try and make friends with other parents around here.  They all move.

We have a unique perspective because we stepped off the road, or, to be more accurate, were never on it.  We moved to the outer suburb straight from a rural town in upstate New York.  We just bought a summer cottage instead of the condo.  We are locked in to our little wooded corner, and happy about it, even if the walls do close in sometimes.


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