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All in the Family
Many generations of Youth Radio's Rayana Godfrey's family are living under one roof.
By Rayana Godfrey
My house looks kind of oldish from the street. But if you ask anyone who's been inside, they'll tell you it feels like family. It's always been a place of acceptance.
When my friends come over, they call my granny "granny," and my mom isn't "Ms. Godfrey," she's "mom." Sure we'll hang in my room sometimes, but we're always just as comfortable chilling in the living room. Just the other day I was doing my friend's hair on the couch while he and my mom laughed and swapped stories.
My granny, mom and I live in a three-bedroom, two-bath house. Granny owns the place and has the biggest room and the biggest bed. Granny never liked my mom to say that she lives with her; instead my mom makes sure to say "we live together." The reason being that we live this way by choice -- because it makes us stronger...and happier.
My mom has always paid my granny rent, and she says she's never felt self-conscious about the situation because it's not like mom is living off of granny in any way, shape or form. If we moved out not only would we be responsible for paying rent to someone else, but my granny would have to worry about taking care of bills and a mortgage all by herself. Why would we do that when we all like being together and can keep our money in the family? It takes the stress off all of us.
The stereotype of teens fleeing home as soon as they graduate high school is changing, in part because the economy is terrible. Most of my friends still live at home. And you can understand why. Recently the Federal Reserve announced that the average American family is no wealthier today than they were back when I was born in the 1990s.
Eventually I plan on moving to New York to attend college, and I'd like to find a career and stay there. But right now, I have a really full life here. I have a job, I'm taking college classes and my connections are growing.
In this economy, flying the coop just because I'm 18, doesn't make sense.
With a Perspective, I'm Rayana Godfrey.
Rayana Godfrey is a college freshman and lives in Vallejo. Youth Radio produced her commentary.