The Purple of Life

She told me to hold on to the purple in my life.

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Location: Chicago, United States

I'm a 37-year-old editor and city dweller, wife and mother, moderately liberal and radically optimistic. I would fill my perfect day with a cup of coffee and the Op Ed section, a flea market and the playground, a run along Lake Michigan, a walk through the neighborhood with my son and my greyhound, a Cuban dinner and a bottle of red with my husband, and an evening flight to some European city. I wouldn't be picky about which one.

August 1, 2010

In a suburban Starbucks, waiting

** This post was written on Jan. 11, 2010.**

I’m sitting in one of those Starbucks-within-a-grocery store, in a nondescript ghost town of a suburb near an airport. Through the window there is pale January sunlight, icy snow piled up on an outdoor café table, a parking lot, a gas station, a Long John Silver’s. There’s no WiFi here, so my plan to stay on top of work email this morning has been scrapped. I edited some articles, and now I have about an hour to kill before John’s meeting is over and he picks me up for lunch.

Having both of our individual meetings with the caseworker in one day is easiest—what with our one car, which John drives to work, and the fact that I can’t even remember the last time I drove it. (I probably should practice before any attempt to pilot it out to the suburbs.) So I’m here while he has his meeting, then, after lunch, I’ll have mine. I’ll take a cab to the Blue Line afterward and head home.

We are adopting a baby. I’m going to type it again: We are adopting a baby. It doesn’t seem real, somehow, although this is our second visit with our caseworker, and we’ve already written two not-inconsequentially sized checks, penned our autobiographies, had our agreement for agency services notarized. My parents know (I could not resist telling them). Our five personal references know. John’s parents don’t know yet, and I think that’s because again, somehow, it just doesn’t seem all that real. That’s largely because we still have at least a year and a half to go, I think. We don’t know who our child is yet. (Although it’s occurred to me that he might be conceived already, might be growing and developing somewhere on the other side of the world, in South Korea. And yes, in my mind, he is a he.)

I am excited. Well, duh, of course, right? But I want to write it here, how very excited I am. We are going to be parents. We will be three (plus one dog). Somewhere there is a child who will be born without parents who can keep him, and we will be the parents who can.

The decision to have a child is one I’ve been wrestling with for many years now (as long-time readers of this site know!). At some point in spring 2009, I felt ready. I had been inching toward readiness, one tiny little step at a time, seeing babies and smiling, holding babies and feeling good inside, getting warmer, warmer, warmer. John had been ready for a few years, and I caught up. There was a time when I didn’t know if I’d ever want children. I still don’t feel any yearning to be pregnant. But I want to be a parent. I think we’re going to be pretty good at it. I know we want to love a child. We’re ready to start a new chapter—no, it’s more than that; it’s starting the next part of the book, with many chapters contained within.

I am excited. And I’m scared; I have a good idea of the changes to my life that are coming, since the majority of my friends have walked this path before me. I still cherish my alone time. Hitting the gym for an hour, four or five days a week, is a priority for me. I love going out to eat (and not at 5 p.m.). There’s my job, all the strides I’ve made in my career. Sitting next to me here in Starbucks are two stay-at-home moms with their little girls running among the tables, and nothing’s changed for me in that regard; I do not think I want that to be my 8–5 life, at least not every day.

But I’ve come to a place where I’m ready to embrace a new way of living, a new Amy. She won’t visit the gym so regularly, but in the warm months, she’ll take the jogging stroller out along the lake. I think she’ll still love her job, but she’ll often miss her child while she’s there. She won’t care as much about late-night dining or being disconnected from work email for a morning. She will be somebody’s mom. And now my heart has jumped into my throat a little, imagining that, and I’m smiling at no one. We are going to be parents. We are adopting a baby.

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Blogger Stephanie said...

Amy! Such wonderful news! So happy for you two (three)! My brother- and sister-in-law are also in the process of adopting from S. Korea, and it seems like their timeline may be similar to yours; I'll have to connect the two of you, if you'd like.

Congrats, congrats, and best wishes as you wait to meet your new little one!

1:06 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Oh Amy. This post gave me goosebumps. I am SO EXCITED for you! This will be a fun post to look back on after your baby comes home.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Birdie said...

I think I was in the same spot you are: loved the late dinners, meeting with friends, impromptu trips, being out an not being concerned about having to race home. Then it hit me - we were ready to become three. So surreal, and yet it can ring so true with your heart.
I loved how you typed, "We are adopting a baby" twice! I think a love of life is one of the best things you can give a child, a you really seem to have that. You are right - you will be good at being a parent:).
Now doesn't it feel wierd having typed all this AND now putting it out there! It makes me so excited for you!

10:50 AM  
Blogger Cori said...

I was so happy to read this. I love that you sat on it for a while until it really felt real enough to put out in the world.

We're finding that children can enhance so many of the awesome parts of life, and for the late night dinners and drinks....babysitters!

1:33 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Thanks, guys. All of your comments made me smile. The Internet is a wonderful place. :)

3:28 PM  
Blogger Pixie said...

Amy! So glad you shared this all with us! You put it all into words so lovely that I had to read them twice. I have had the exact same thoughts about our lives changing--how will I juggle the career, changes to our lifestyle, etc.

Your post opened a door for me when you painted the picture of daily life with a child. " She won’t visit the gym so regularly, but in the warm months, she’ll take the jogging stroller out along the lake. I think she’ll still love her job, but she’ll often miss her child while she’s there. She won’t care as much about late-night dining or being disconnected from work email for a morning. She will be somebody’s mom."

I can't wait for this. For myself, and for you! Congrats!

7:31 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

This post was absolutely beautiful and made me happy. That warm, fuzzy, the-world-is-good happy. Congrats a hundred times over!

7:07 PM  
Blogger Jessamyn said...

Oh, Amy, this is wonderful. I am so happy for you!

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an exciting time...and what a beautiful post! Congratulations and love to you both!


1:26 PM  
Blogger Kellie said...

Beautiful, beautiful post.

7:56 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

I AM JUST SEEING THIS TODAY! HOLY SMOKES! I am so excited I could plotz. This is just the most wonderful news.

10:23 AM  

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