Hey Kids! is a weekly feature looking at what’s coming up for families and kids of all ages.

We did Day of the Dead on Tuesday, only my second since I moved to SF in 2003. It was a much different experience, then.

I was just weaving a new life: I had moved to San Francisco, to be with the man I loved unquestioningly since our first kiss, and Ernesto, my sweet baby pie, was baking in my belly.

Yet, some threads were coming undone: my mother had just been diagnosed with stage three breast cancer, and my father was entering year five of fighting a neuroblastoma.

Misleadingly poignant, was the certainty that the years of life my adored parents still had would steel me for their painful loss. It was a certainty firm in the way that only convictions rooted in utter ignorance can be.

The years of steeling went by and the inevitable came. In the spring of 2007, my unforgettable father went. And in the summer of the following year, it was the turn of my darling mother. They were both too young, and still had too much to say. And they knew it, too. They were not at peace when they went, their intellects still keen enough to be angry and unresigned to the unfairness of their caving bodies.

The jarring depth of the pain was of a size I had never imagined, despite the years of trying, I know now that there simply isn’t a way to be ready for how bereavement conquers the soul.

Though we rarely speak of it, I know that watching our parents die was a sorrow my siblings and I will never fully surpass, as is the hollow they left, one into which I stare everyday, waiting for it to be smaller.

My comfort, my closest companion in the journey through grief has been my now fully baked 7 years old pie, my beloved Ernesto, with whom I have shared every tear streaked, memory filled step.

Including last night. We went to Garfield Park to leave our calaveras at the altars, on the way we talked of symbols and skeletons, funerals and coffins, of longing and sadness, and of love everlasting, beyond illness, beyond death, beyond interment.

We offered our sugar skulls, we wrote letters, we hugged, I cried, he kissed my tears away. Right here, in the heart of the Mission, my child and I found a place to wail our dead and celebrate death, love, and family.

There is no place like home to heal, and the Mission is home, for our family.

Below are my picks for another great weekend to love at home.

For Love of the Theatre
SOTA’s production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s family classic “I Remember Mama”
, about the trials of a family of Norwegian immigrants in San Francisco, opens this Friday. Matinees, with tickets as low as $10, will be held on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon. The production will run for two weekends.

Young Performers Theater is in its second weekend of “Dracula’s School for Vampires” in which Dracula and his sister Mandragora go home to start an elite academy for young vampires. Shows are in the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday and continue through next week. While you are on their website, check out their great classes for drama loving kids of all ages.

For Love of the Earth
The Green Festival is back in San Francisco this weekend. Ernesto and I have attended it twice in years past, and I recommend it wholeheartedly. Many displays are engaging and interactive, and there will be several children centered activities, including butter making and a trash-mash up. By the way, you can get into the festival for free with a Rainbow Grocery $10 or more receipt dated between 11/1 and 7.

For Love of Paxton Gate
I realize we feature this lovely, little haunt almost every week, but they do have some of the funkiest and most engaging to do’s around for children, thus I am highlighting their Terrarium Workshop, on Sunday 11/7 from 11 a m to 1 p m. Not cheap at $60, yet I cannot help but imagine the smile on my plant loving mother’s face had she had the opportunity of seeing Ernesto busy with apartment gardening.

For Love of Books
The Booksmith on Haight Street offers a Saturday morning 11 a m story reading for younger children. This weekend will be about dinosaurs!

For Love of Art
The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s weekly drop in art class will focus on shadow box landscapes this Sunday from 1 p m to 3 p m. And while you are there, get tickets to the upcoming Curious George Saves the Day, an exhibit on the life and work of Margret and H.A. Rey opening on Sunday of next week. I had the opportunity to see the exhibit while on show at the Jewish Museum in NY…delightful.

Mission Muralismo has been front and center at the DeYoung Museum to honor the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. This Friday, the series will culminate in multiple events, held from 5 p m to 8:30 p m. Not all of the program, which is done in partnership with the Mission’s own Precita Eyes, is kid friendly, but the live music and art making are great family entertainment. And admission is free.

For Love of Time
And on Sunday, before retiring, don’t forget to reset your time keeping pieces an hour back, as of Monday morning, we will be back to standard time.

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A native Italian, US-based professional with 30 years of multifaceted experience in the field of Italian food, Viola transitioned to teaching 10 years ago, with the goal of getting home cooks to gather daily around the stove and table. She believes that from our kitchens, we can make the world a better place. By cooking good food at the intersection of Italian table culture and local agriculture, she teaches people to enjoy and value good food, and understand its critical role to the overall well being of our communities. For more details on registering for Viola’s classes and other food-related activities go to her website.
For more details on registering for Viola’s classes and other food-related activities click here.

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