Hello! My name is Laura, and I live in San Francisco, California, along with my wonderful son John (4 years old) and our two dogs, Shasta and Chuck. We live in a beautiful Victorian home in the center of the city, surrounded on all sides by parks, playgrounds, and loving neighbors. I work part-time from home and love being able to provide for my family while also being home to nurture and enjoy them. Motherhood has been a dream come true for me. John is joyful, creative, passionate and compassionate, with a wild imagination and a sense of kindness towards all he encounters. I knew very quickly after having him that I wanted to continue to grow our family. John makes me proud on so many levels, but I am most honored to see him grow into a loving, compassionate little boy. I know he will be a wonderful big brother to the child that joins our family.
I moved to San Francisco in 2007 and quickly fell in love with the Bay Area. Before having John, I was an active mountain climber and volunteer yoga teacher. As John has grown, I have loved enjoying these activities with him. We hike in the Marin Headlands together, and love exploring the local beaches and parks. We take a family yoga class together. Most weekends, we can be found enjoying the great outdoors with other families, and hosting family dinners in our home with neighbors and friends. We also love all of the cultural experiences San Francisco has to offer; we have memberships at museums like The Exploratorium, The Bay Area Discovery Museum, and the California Academy of Sciences.
John is a sweet, sensitive soul. He is very attuned to other people’s feelings and is often the first to comfort a friend who is feeling sad. He has a wild imagination and spends most of his play time dressing up in costumes and creating wonderful story lines with his friends. He loves music and dancing, as well as sports like soccer. On our street, there are three other children that were born the same month as John; they have been his good buddies his whole life, and they love playing together in each other’s backyards. My closest friend lives around the corner and has three children, who are also his life-long friends. He makes new friends easily but certainly considers these neighborhood friends his best friends.
Shasta and Chuck are both 7 year-old Labrador Retrievers. They are incredibly loving, sweet and protective with John. Shasta in particular has never left John’s side – she sleeps at the foot of his bed every night. When he was a young toddler, they loved to “clean up” after his dinner … while I was bathing John and putting him in his pjs, they were scouring every inch of the floor for bits of food that John had dropped. We love to take them to the beach, where John throws a ball for them to fetch. We also love taking them on family hikes in the Marin headlands.
I’ve learned that you can’t predict how a child will feel growing up without a biological parent, or in a single parent household. In John’s case, he has from time to time felt the absence of a father in his life, and had many questions starting around the age of 3. I sat down with his wonderful pre-school teachers to talk about how best to support him, and we came up with the idea of writing a book about all of the wonderful dads in his life – my dad, his uncles (my sisters’ husbands) and the dads in the families of our closest friends in San Francisco. We gave this group of dads the name “The Dad Squad”, and each of them have promised to always be there for John. They also support me in my parenting journey and provide an important male perspective when I need it.
We live among a very diverse community of families, including families that are a mix of biological and adoptive children. Our closest friends in San Francisco adopted their two eldest children from Ethiopia, and then were surprised to learn that they were pregnant with a third child. We live two blocks away from this wonderful family and share many family dinners, outdoor adventures and cozy weekends at their cabin. John counts these three children among his closest friends, and together with their parents, we navigate the questions that arise about our non-traditional family structures. We’ve learned together how important it is to honor our children’s roots and history, and embrace their questions about race, skin color, and birth stories as they arise. Most of all, we’ve learned that there is nothing our children can’t face without our love and support.
I have been fortunate enough to spend the last 20 years in a lucrative field (Finance) that allows me to provide for my family, while at the same time gives me the flexibility to spend time with my family when needed. I currently work part-time from home, and am loving the ability to balance providing for my family with also being home to nurture and enjoy them.
We have a wonderful nanny, Ana, who lives in an in-law unit in our home, along with her husband Cristian and her baby Lucca. They have been with us since John was a tiny baby. They speak Spanish exclusively in their home, and thanks to them, John has been immersed in Spanish language and Latin American cultural heritage his whole life. Ana’s family has become like a second family to me and John. The “abuelas” often come over to babysit and cook delicious meals for John. When Ana had her baby Lucca and was recovering from a c-section, John’s abuelas were there to help her and care for him. It was such a joy to know that John was able to spend time in a multicultural, multi-generational Spanish speaking environment during the hours that I was at work.