The cliche has begun. It is official. Our San Francisco friends with children are slowly beginning the inevitable shuffling off into two distinct categories: those who are settling into the City for the long haul and buying houses, and those who are admitting defeat and leaving the City for more affordable digs.
As renters who have small children, our numbers are dwindling. We are part of the oft-bemoaned, ever-shrinking group of middle-class San Francisco families, not poor by any relevant measure that makes sense in any other part of our nation, but not quite affluent enough to buy a house and put down roots. I’ve self-named our family as part of the “Left Behind” cohort in homage to those creepy books about all of the sinners left behind after God takes his chosen up to heaven in the Rapture.
My Left Behind demographic is a hodge-podge of educated, professional people with children who watch their friends move into that charming renovated Bernal Heights cottage, or else wave good-bye to yet another family who has packed it in for Concord or Sacramento or North Carolina.
The other issue that separates the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, is Kindergarten. Our City’s bizarre Kindergarten application procedure scares some parents so badly that they dare not even try to figure it out. They rely strictly on the gossip that goes, “Public schools here are bad. Because everyone I meet at playgroup in the Marina says they’re bad. So therefore they are bad. Even though I’ve never actually visited a public school in San Francisco.” These folks either throw in the towel and hightail it out of the City or else shell out more money than many hard-working people earn in a year to ensure their progeny remain unsoiled by the children of those who work their heinies off in service to the San Francisco wealthy.
Those of use who are Left Behind, must go through the public school application process. And, guess what? I’ve learned that there are many, many excellent San Francisco schools out there. The naysaying mommies at Day One have no idea what they are talking about on this one. I am actually looking forward to learning which school my daughter will attend and embracing a new phase of this adventure that is San Francisco parenting.
Or am I just trying to convince myself that everything is super because we have no other choice?