San Francisco draws people from all over the world. Most people who live here came here from somewhere else. Those transplants are always amazed when they meet a native San Franciscan. But there are quite a few of us around.
I am a San Francisco native. I live four miles from my parents house where I grew up. I haven’t gone very far. It doesn’t seem strange to me because I know so many people who are also natives and still live in the area. One benefit of staying in the same small geographic area is the ability to stay in touch with friends and acquaintances from so many different parts of your life. For some that might be a nightmare, but I love it. San Francisco is not a very big city and those that stay tend to see each other over and over again.
My friend Lori, who grew up in Los Angeles, is always amazed at the number of people I know . It has become something of a game to see if I will run into somebody I know when we are out. I always do. I can’t help it, I know a lot of people.
I grew up here. I am one of seven children. I have 31 cousins, 25 of whom also grew up in San Francisco. I attended Catholic schools where many families were the same size. That is a wide net right there. It’s not just my old friends I see, but their siblings or friends of my own siblings. I worked downtown before I went to law school and made friends at that time. I returned from law school and joined the legal community. I have many friends from that part of my life. I married Steve and inherited all his friends from growing up and from college. I raised my kids here, sending the boys to the same Catholic school system I attended. I met many friends this way. When Maggie was born, I met an entirely new set of people in the world of disabled children and healthcare, several of whom I count as very close friends. We have lived in this house for 24 years and know many people in the neighborhood as well. Now friends of my sons are out in the working world and I run into them as well.
There is some overlap in the different groups, but not too much. For the most part the groups are distinct. That is not purposeful, just the way it works out. Admittedly, most of these folks fall into acquaintance rather than real friend category, but there is almost a guarantee I will run into someone I know. It used to drive the boys crazy, but now it is happening to them as well.
A lot of those acquaintances really are good friends too. They have stood by and with us since Maggie was born. Some faded away because it was too much to handle, but most have been there throughout asking what they could do to help. I don’t say it often enough, but I am so very grateful to everyone in my life who is willing to provide the support we need. It keeps us going.
Weeks go by and we don’t get to see any one. Then there are weeks like this one in which I have spent time with friends from several of these groups. We laughed with friends from Steve’s high school and college days, my high school, raising the boys and my days of practicing law. Spending time with each allows me to focus on different parts of my life. I may not have wandered very far, but I certainly have a multi faceted life.
It’s good to remember that . In the last few years my entire life has been completely focused on Maggie’s care, which it needs to be. It can be very isolating. But I am never alone. I draw strength and love from all these amazing people in my life.