We are thankful to have children living in beautiful places
November 29, 2019
When my daughter Julie headed out to Colorado in 2003, it was originally planned as a nine-month adventure teaching environmental science. Soon, however, Julie fell in love with the mountains, Colorado, and Sam, not necessarily in that order. They built a life together, completed graduate degrees, got married, bought a house in Frisco, and had a child. They have settled into the life at 9100 feet.
Meanwhile, our son Adam chose a different path in another Frisco—San Francisco. After completing a law degree, he moved into an apartment in the middle of the city. Last December, he met Sarah. In a whirlwind romance, they dated, got engaged, got married, and now are expecting their first child. They have settled into life at sea level.
In the middle of all this, my husband, Larry, and I decided to move from Upstate New York, to a 55 plus community in Florida, close to 2000 and 3000 miles from Frisco and San Francisco, respectfully. There are those who ask us when we are moving closer to our children. The answer, for now, is NOT NOW.
Feeling gratitude despite living so far away may be difficult to fathom. However, I am thankful. Both my children have chosen to settle in two of the most wonderful places we have ever visited. Recent experiences bear that out.
Frisco, Colorado is nestled in beautiful Summit County. Surrounded by mountains reaching over 14,000 feet, it is for us a summer wonderland. Trails beckon us on hikes that bring us next to flowing streams, stunning wildflowers, and expansive vista. Larry plays with the Summit County pickle ball league while I take long walks with my granddog. Free concerts are offered in most surrounding towns Thursdays through Sunday.
Our favorite is the one on Main Street in Frisco every week. Hundreds of people congregate around the pavilion in the middle of Frisco Town Park. The adults settle into lawn chairs and on blankets, pulling dinners out of coolers, while their dogs settle near by. Meanwhile, the children dart around the lawn and path around the pavilion. It is a slice of Americana that I hadn’t seen since growing up in our Upstate New York town. In addition to the free entertainment, the area has several theater groups and a summer residency for the National Repertory Orchestra. Because of all it offers, Larry and I have rented there for the past four summers.
One-thousand miles away, San Francisco is one of the most beloved city in America. When we visited Adam, we have taken advantage of all its attractions. We have walked through Golden Gate Park and across the iconic bridge. We have visited Alcatraz, Muir Woods, Sausalito, and Point del Reyes. We have used the city as a starting point to attractions as far south as Monterey and as far north as Astoria, Oregon.
With such wonderful places to go, why have we have not picked up again? This question has taken on new meaning now that we have The Frisco Kid in Colorado and a soon-to-be grandson in California.
Let me start with Frisco. Everything I wrote about my favorite town in the world is during the summer. In 2019 its residents experienced snow through the end of June, enjoyed a beautiful summer, and had its first dusting of the 2019-2020 season on a nearby ski resort on Aug. 22. By Sept. 19, the mountains got enough snow to get skiers excited.
When we visited Julie and Sam in mid-October, snow fell on five out of six days. An Upstate New York girl, I always loved the site of clean, white snow on lawns and trees and trails. Unfortunately, sidewalks are not immune. After dropping The Frisco Kid at pre-school the second full day we were there, the sun was shining everywhere, including on the black ice on the sidewalks. We had to leave for the airport a day early as a major storm was expected to bring hazardous conditions to Route 70. The Weather Channel advisory recommended travelers to pack food, water, and blankets in case one was stranded. Although the snowfall never amounted to more than 2 inches (Denver actually got more!), the temperature dipped to 16 degrees above zero, without windchill. We love Frisco but cannot see us living there through their long winters.
The weather in Adam and Sarah’s now established hometown is admittedly better. Even if you factor in the famous Mark Twain quote, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco,” we would never have to deal with snow. The city, however, is known for its steep hills and even steeper housing prices. If we sold our home in Florida, we could maybe afford a bathroom. No, I am not talking about a one bedroom, one bath apartment. I am talking about a bathroom. No shower included. And to get to that bathroom, we would probably have to walk up four flights of stairs, as the natives seem to eschew elevators.
There are two more reasons not to move. First of all, a number of friends have relocated to be close to their children, only to see them relocate one or two years later because of their careers.
Finally, Larry and I love where we are. We are in a one-floor home that is a perfect size for the two of us. We have activities that fit our needs: pickle ball courts; fully equipped gyms, Olympic-sized pools, restaurants, and entertainment venues. To add to our pleasure, we have our choice of over 250 clubs and organizations with which to participate within our gates.
Within a 40-minute drive, we have all that Orlando has to offer, including world-class entertainment. The Frisco Kid experienced Disneyland for the first time last year, and she is already on a campaign to make it a yearly visit. Hopefully, she will persuade her new cousin to do the same! So we are here to stay for as long as we can maintain our independent lifestyle.
This Thanksgiving, we are grateful that both our children have chosen to settle in two of the most wonderful places we have ever experienced. We have planned visits as well as a promise to them that we can be on a plane in a moment’s notice if needed. Meanwhile, the guest room is ready for them anytime.
Marilyn Cohen Shapiro, a resident of Kissimmee, Fla., is a regular contributor to the (Capital Region N.Y.) Jewish World and the Orlando Heritage Florida Jewish News. She is the author of two compilations of her stories, “There Goes My Heart” (2016) and “Tikkun Olam” (2018). Both books available in paperback and e-book format on Amazon. Her blog is theregoesmyheart.me.