Leaving

sold

house 2

We have been kicking around the idea of moving for years, dragging our feet. Then within a course of a month, KABAM, we have a new house and our old one is sold. It happened in a flash.

It has been a shock to my system. I’m all busted up about leaving. I’m not simply a touch teary and sentimental; I’m sitting on our front porch and sobbing.

I remember the first time we saw our little green house with the neat white trim, the golden afternoon light filtering through the camphor and jacaranda trees. It was love at first sight. We couldn’t believe our luck when we got it.

We waited for a child for two solid years in that house. We did not have the baby we so desperately wanted, but we did have our nest and I clung to it. I decorated his room with a zeal I don’t believe I will ever summon again for things like curtains. I spent some of the hardest days of my life in that house.

ROOM

I was sitting at our weathered farm table when I finally got the call:

You have a beautiful eight-month-old son. His name is Tariku.

My neighbor was pregnant with twins at the time. We spent many afternoons together, drinking lemonade on her porch. Something deeply lazy and serene washed over us as we slowly adjusted to the idea of the sea change before us. Those twins are now Tariku’s closest buddies and we haven’t had a moment of serenity since.

As Scott and I prepared to go to Africa, I sat on the bright green carpet in Tariku’s room under the painted starry night sky, while I packed and plotted and planned. I tried out various nicknames. It was Tariku’s room. Terry’s room. T-Bone’s room. T’s room. I sat in the rocker for hours and looked at his photos and was able to trust, for just a moment, that it would be fine somehow. That he would come home to us after all. That the world was about to shatter into something entirely new.

For the last five years, I have started all of T’s bedtime stories:

Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Tariku Moon, who lived in a little green house on Mount Royal Drive…

That era is ending now, never to return. Like the sweet sounds he used to make before he could form words. Like the smell of his baby head- some combination of powder and cookies and fairy dust- as he napped on my chest in the rocker. Like the small, shifting weight of him as I carried him around for hours in the Ergo, my little kangaroo.

CUTE

We have been through so much here. I think I am partly grieving the couple Scott and I were when we moved into the house, with all of our hopefulness and naivetè, seven years worth of mistakes and missteps still ahead of us. It was a freer, wilder time. It would be dishonest of me to say that absolutely everything is better now that we finally have the child we always wanted. We are tired. There are crazy new lines on my face. I have to pack a lunch box every morning and, man, does that start out cute and get old quick. Still, when I step back and look at the home we made, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I realize how happy we have been, how lucky we are to be growing and moving on.

US

We bought a dynamite place in a snazzy-cute neighborhood, with lots of fantastic cafés, artisanal grilled cheese, overpriced denim and clever mustaches. There are also tons of families, beautiful park space and a terrific farmer’s market. Our new pad is light and bright and vibrant. I am sad to leave, but I am also thrilled about the sense of wide open possibility. We might just be buying bunk beds… Also, my new kitchen is SWEET.

We are leaving a home that we have loved and of which I am proud. Our happiness has been in these walls but it is not of these walls. We will take it with us when we go.

Onward, to the next adventure!

4 Responses to 'Leaving'

  1. Jillian, what a beautiful post. I had some interesting feelings associated with leaving our home of 10 years after the death of our sweet son. I was so afraid of losing MORE of him if we left, but that didn’t happen, thank goodness. It is true the happiness does move with you. xo

  2. Martha says:

    Greetings from London,

    I came across to your blog while looking for a forum or something similar for mums and dads who have adopted from Ethiopia.

    First I would like to congratulate you both for the way your boy has turned out. He looks like a very healthy happy little boy. Although I am not a mum myself I have nieces and a nephew, two of them his age group who unfortunately lost both their parents and currently living in Addis Abeba with my elderly father and to whom I am trying to be a surrogate mum from a distance which is proving to be challenging both emotionally and practically. Parenthood is the toughest job at best of times but when nothing prepared us for it, it becomes a lot more frightening.

    Strange as it seems, when I was younger I used to wish to have plenty of children. Young and naive, I not only imagined them beyond the age of 5 but I also never entertained the idea that they were going to depend on me for everything. All I could think of was being surrounded by cute little children whom I was going to adore. The passing of youth and the dawn of maturity has taken away all that innocence and in its place I am left being preoccupied about the life chances of so many of the children in countries like mine (Ethiopia) which lead to my husband and I setting up a charity here in the UK which enables us to collect used hospital equipment for health centres and hospitals as well as furniture, computers and books especially tailored to those whose English is not a mother tongue.

    As we are loading a 40ft container with furniture, computers and books for shipment to Ethiopia for setting up an English language lab, a library and a homework hub to be used in shifts by 4,000 school children from 3 schools in Northern Ethiopia very close to the Semien mountains, I can’t help thinking if we find people who will be prepared to become a friend of our charity and encourage family and friends to help us raise the amount which is needed for shipment how we will be able to help so many children have access to education which made me thinking to look for those who have become parents to children from Ethiopia as I feel they understand better than anyone how difficult life is for so many children in Ethiopia which lead me discover your blog.

    I am now writing to ask if you would consider in becoming a friend of our charity IDP (International Development Partnerships) and help spread the word or pass my request to other parents of children from Ethiopia who might have spare capacity to help in bringing our work to the attention of others through social media etc. I feel it would be a great project for school children as it will help them to develop awareness about the circumstances of children in the developing world.

    I hope you will give my request your kind consideration,

    With very best wishes to you and your family,
    Martha
    http://www.idp-uk.org

  3. Amanda says:

    Hi Jillian!
    So glad to have found your blog. I was also born in 1973, and I was adopted as an infant. Your “Some Girls” book hit every single one of my emotional touchstones. My journey for self, and all the hurdles and detours along the way are ridiculously (almost eerie?) similar. I found my biological mother on the Texas Birth Registry, and later found her on Facebook (almost sounds trite). I get what you meant about finally feeling balanced.

    I have been seriously thinking about international adoption for quite some time. We are thinking about adopting from a Central American country. For some reason, my feet keep getting pointed I that direction. Too many strange coincidences to list here.

    Thank you for sharing. Really, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.

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