You wouldn't know it from the hundreds of stories on parenting issues he writes for Blogging Baby or from the sorts of things he writes around here, but there was a time when Dutch was scared shitless of becoming a parent. We were living in San Francisco, and every month when he heard me pull the tampon box out from under the sink it was as if the collective weight of a thousand dirty diapers had been lifted off our apartment. Each time I dragged him into our neighborhood baby gear store looking for a gift for one of the growing number of children being born to my friends, he would break out into hives while looking at books with titles like Finding a Preschool for Your Child in San Francisco and Finding a Nanny for Your Child in the San Francisco Bay Area, and inevitably he would storm out of the store to hyperventilate on the sidewalk outside. "We're not going to have a kid in this city," he'd say. "There's no way I'm going to deal with all that crap here."

It came as quite a shock to me, then, when one day in 2003, well over a year before I got pregnant, he came home with the newly-reissued Miroslav Sasek book, This is San Francisco, which at first he claimed to have purchased for the classic mid-century illustrations, but which he later admitted to buying so that one day our kids could read it and learn all about the city where their parents lived when they were young.

Today Juniper is sick. Her symptoms include a runny nose, general crabbiness, whining, all sorts of carrying on, crappy sleeping, and lots of complaining. The only weapon we seem to have against it all is reading books. It's the only thing that makes her forget how miserable she is, and so we spend hours reading the same ones, repeatedly caving to the dreaded, "Again? Again, please?" and starting from the beginning, over and over and over.

Last night Juniper finally got tired of her own favorites and toddled over to her bookshelves in search of something new. She eventually settled on This is San Francisco. It's a big book, and after she lugged it across the room over to my lap last night, I read it to her for the first time in many months, the first time when we weren't sitting in the middle of the city portrayed in the book. She was quiet and didn't protest at the lack of dogs or monkeys or babies, the way she had the last time I'd tried to read it to her. I assumed she was just tolerating it because the snot filling up every spare hole in her head made it hard for her to hear, but on the 5th page she interrupted me, pointing to a drawing of typical San Francisco houses lining a hilly, typical San Francisco street, and said: "Home?" On the next page, she pointed to another house and asked, "Mama dada, live?"

For the first time since we've moved here, it felt like someone had stolen my heartbeat, and I was overwhelmed with longing for San Francisco. The page featuring a drawing of Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park, where I reminded Juniper about how we used to feed the ducks after picking up coffee and bagels, reduced me to tears. In that moment I felt foolish for ever denying that I miss our old home. Co-workers and new friends have asked me so many times some permutation of the question of how could we ever leave San Francisco, don't we miss it, and wasn't it so much better than Detroit. I've shrugged those questions off every time, expressing mild irritation as I tried to explain my new love for this new city. Moving here was risky in so many ways, that I think I was afraid that even the smallest acknowledgment that San Francisco was a city well worth missing would be an acknowledgment of our worst fears: that moving here could be a mistake.

Now that we've been here for two months, I'm confident enough in our decision to move to Detroit that I can allow myself some space to miss San Francisco. Our well-worn apartment on 2nd Avenue was the place where my boyfriend turned into my husband, and after that, where we grew together from people terrified of accidentally becoming pregnant to the parents that we were both born to be.