I didn’t plan anything. I arrived in San Francisco by car on September 11, 2008 around 9 p.m., young, single and childless. My journey driving across the country culminating in a steep climb up 17th Street, then freely flowing without the makeshift plaza, past the supersized rainbow flag in the Castro.
“I’m here!” I shouted out the window.
I’d planned to stay in San Francisco briefly with a high school friend. But after a week I realized this was the place I belonged. I made fast friends. Secret outdoor stairs, Golden Gate Park, views of the Bay and the Pacific Ocean from the top of hills made this City feel like an actual paradise. I was attracted to the vibrations of the culture. It was creative, compassionate, intellectual, aware, and a little bit wild. There were parades, costumes, dancing, and music.
In April 2009 I met Gabriel Bellman, who would become the father of my child, at the Hotel Utah, one of San Francisco’s most beloved music venues. I’d just played a song. He was just stopping in, having been a regular for years performing original spoken word pieces. As soon as I saw him, I couldn’t stop looking at him. He had painfully gorgeous blue eyes, shiny black hair, and was wearing a black leather jacket. His hair was cut like a ten-year boy.
“I can fix that,” I thought.
We’ve been devoted partners to each other ever since. In 2013 we were blessed with a baby boy. In those early days the City took care of us in many ways. There was always good healthy food and delicious coffee nearby. The Golden Gate Mothers Group and the Children’s Council of San Francisco were resources that made us feel like we had support and belonged in San Francisco with a baby.
As Cassius grew, we became California Academy of Sciences members. I spent many days strolling around with my toddler in the aquarium, watching the penguins swim.
We spent time at the San Francisco Botanical Garden and Conservatory of Flowers. We became Exploratorium and Children’s Creativity Museum members. There are so many enriching experiences for babies and young children in our City.
For our family, the best part about living here is being near beaches and redwood forests. There is nowhere more beautiful than the landscape along the great Pacific ocean; tide pools, redwood and eucalyptus trees, succulents, pelicans, sea birds, gulls, hawks, dolphin pods, whale breaches, friendly harbor seals, and barking sea lions. This is an ocean town. This is a bay town. Fog, sun, heat, breeze, fish, sea, salt, sand, hills, and vistas. We love living here.
My son was born in one of the greatest cities in the world. I didn’t plan this, but, I can’t imagine choosing anywhere more vibrant or beautiful to raise him.