I moved to San Francisco after attending college at the University of California, Santa Cruz because the City was full of beloved haunts, from Aub Zam Zam to Specs. Over the years, I became more attached to all the wonderful things San Francisco offers. And it wasn’t just the bars. I started my career here, met my wife, Davina, here, and built my community here over the past 20 years.
When we had our daughter, Mila, eight years ago, we didn’t give any thought to moving out of the City, other than to confirm with each other that we both had every intention of raising her in San Francisco. Why abandon something that makes our adult lives so worthwhile? And why not give Mila a life full of the same things?
We’ve never questioned that decision, even though it’s meant sacrificing some things, like owning a house, having a dog, and a yard. On a recent rainy weekend, we dropped by the new San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for a few hours, ate great Mexican food for lunch, met friends at a local brewery, and let the kids run around. We discover new things about the City all the time, from Glen Park Canyon to a type of regional Chinese cuisine that we’d never tried before.
Becoming part of Daniel Webster Elementary School has only strengthened our belief in the positive effects of raising a city kid; on both her and on us. Getting engaged with our school community has been personally rewarding, and helps us see outside our little family bubble. On our daily walk to school we see neighbors and friends, and pet their dogs. Our daughter knows everyone from the librarians at our local branch to chefs at local restaurants, business owners, and of course all the friends that populate our wonderful hill.
We see homeless people and trash, too. These are clear daily reminders of what we need to do better in this world. Our daughter is growing up with the awareness that not everyone shares the privileges that she enjoys. That makes her a stronger and more empathetic person, and it’s a reminder of the work we need to do to make sure everyone lives with dignity and respect.
Max Garrone, a writer and editor, lives with his family on 18th Street. “Why I Choose to Raise My Family in San Francisco” is the brainchild of the Potrero Residents Education Fund, a nonprofit committed to helping create a stronger, more vibrant San Francisco by ensuring that families from a diversity of income levels raise their children in the City. Submit your story to firstname.lastname@example.org.