Why I Choose to Raise My Son in San Francisco: Sara Judge
Updated: Apr 18
I didn’t plan anything! I arrived in San Francisco by car on September 11th, 2008
around 9pm, young, single and childless, the last moments of my journey driving across
the country culminating in the steep climb up 17th street just past the blazing super
sized rainbow flag in the Castro. “I’m here!” I shouted out the window.
I had planned to stay in SF briefly with a high school friend, but after a week I realized
this was the place I belonged. I made fast friends. Secret staircases, Golden Gate Park,
views of the bay and the Pacific Ocean from the tippy 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 the person who would become the father of my child. We met at the
Hotel Utah, one of SF’s most beloved music venues. I had just played a song, and 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 he was wearing a black leather jacket. His hair was cut
like a ten year old boy’s. “I can fix that,” I thought. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.
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 SF with a baby.
As my son grew we became members of the Academy of Sciences and I spent many
days strolling around with my toddler in the aquarium and watching the penguins swim.
We spent time at the Botanical Gardens and the Conservatory of Flowers. We became
members of the Exploratorium and the Children’s Creativity Museum. 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, San Francisco, I can’t imagine choosing anywhere more
vibrant or beautiful to raise my son.
Sara Judge is singer-songwriter, theater artist, and IT Support Specialist for Wharton San Francisco. She is currently working towards an MFA in Writing at California College of the Arts. www.sarajudge.com
“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.