For One Local Family: Proximity is the Best Gift of All

Some families have to go to great lengths to spend the holidays together, but for Sally and Tom Marchessault, being with their grandchildren on Christmas is as easy as getting a phone call and putting on their coats.

“We literally call them and say, ‘Zack’s up,’ and in the five minutes that it takes them to walk over, they can be downstairs when we get downstairs,” said Corrie Jackson, the Marchessault’s daughter-in-law.

The Marchessaults live on Inspiration Lane, just one block from the Jackson’s house on Lynette Street. Present opening is followed by breakfast cooked by their son, Sean, and later dinner at the Jackson house. Sally and Tom host Christmas Eve dinner, which is held early so that Corrie and Sean can get 4-year-old Zack and 15-month-old Maddie to bed before Santa arrives.

This set-up is a welcome surprise for Sean, who grew up in the nearby Westleigh neighborhood and always traveled to Boston to visit his grandparents for the holidays. He figured he would someday be living out of town, bringing his kids back home to Maryland to visit his parents. But after attending college near his grandparents in Boston, meeting Corrie, and living there for 12 years, it was his wife who decided she wanted to be close to family and asked that Sean’s job search to be focused on the D.C.-area so they could live near Tom and Sally. Corrie grew up down the street from her own grandparents in New York.

“It’s amazing to be this close to home. The ability to watch my kids grow up — it’s a gift I can give my parents,” said Sean.

When Corrie and Sean lived in Boston, they could walk to everything and found that to be one of the appealing parts of Kentlands, where Sally and Tom had been living since 1998. The Jacksons stayed with the Marchessaults for about three months before moving into a townhouse on Gatestone Street, where they lived for seven years. This past summer, they bought a single-family home on Lynette Street, just a block away from Sean’s parents.

“The bonus was that we were closer to town, and closer to my in-laws,” said Corrie.

“We’re overjoyed,” said Sally, who, along with Tom, helps drive the kids to their two separate daycares each morning. “It’s the best beginning of my day, to have one of them in the backseat.”

Corrie said many of her friends gawk when they find out she lives a block from her mother-in-law, but she knows how lucky she is to have such a respectful, loving relationship with her. “She’s always very respectful of our space and our time. They are great in-laws and it’s so nice to be close to them,” she said.

“I consider her the daughter I never had,” said Sally. “She’s a wonderful mother and very generous with my grandchildren. It’s just a magical gift that we’re very grateful for. There aren’t really words to describe how fortunate we feel to be part of their everyday family and for them to be a part of ours.”