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.

January 31, 2012


We’re riding up Lake Shore Drive in the dark, past 10, after drinks and dinner downtown—Indian or Spanish or Italian. Going home. The lake is opaque, a huge wild darkness on my right; on the left are the twinkling high-rises, the quiet canal, the empty softball fields. The traffic flows smoothly. I play deejay with the iPod: Iron and Wine, the Civil Wars, the Shins, Mason Jennings, Rocky Votolato. The music has changed with time, but we’ve been doing this Saturday-night drive on a regular basis for more than 10 years, just the two of us. Sometimes we sing along:

Life keeps on changing
Tell it to stay still, but it won’t listen
I just want you near me like you are now, for good.


It’s been more than two years since I mailed our initial application to adopt from Korea, and we are finally, truly, on the cusp of becoming a family of three. The utter on-the-cuspness of these January days is almost hard to comprehend. I feel compelled to clean out closets and organize drawers. Our extra bedroom is slowly becoming a nursery. There’s a new dresser and lamp, children’s books on the shelf, toys in the closet, gray and yellow and light-orange paint chips on the walls.

I have a coupon for the Gap, and I spend it on tiny track pants, little waffle-knit shirts and an orange T-shirt with a bicycle on it.

There’s a to-do list on our kitchen counter that has items such as “attach bookshelves to wall,” “send Mom addresses for baby shower,” “write list of questions for Will’s foster family.” There’s also a list of restaurants to visit one last time, before restaurant-going becomes a pastime that’s on hold.

On weeknights, while John works, I go to the gym, or meet pals for dinner, or cherish my alone time. I feel slightly freaked out about all of this going away. At the exact same time, I am so ready for everything to change.


It’s funny how so many of the best moments of this adoption process have occurred in my office at work. For instance: Yesterday, an email from our social worker, with a video of Will’s first birthday celebration, or dol, taken in November at his foster family’s home. He’s in his hanbok, sitting in his high chair. He smiles, looks around, pounds the table. He can’t reach the traditional dol objects, and his foster brother helps him stand up. He chooses the thread, which signals a long, healthy life, and he looks quite pleased with himself as his foster mother cheers. His foster brother kisses him on the head. Will bonks himself in the face with the thread package. I am utterly transfixed and moved and proud, a little jealous, overwhelmed with love. I watch the video nine times that day.


I turn 36. It’s the loveliest of weekends, sunny and crystal cold. It includes a birthday box from Mom and Dad, a beautiful bouquet of flowers from John, a manicure, calls from friends, dinner with family, impromptu drinks with the downstairs neighbor who’s also celebrating his birthday, two outdoor runs, lots of sleep, shopping downtown, dinner at a fabulous Spanish restaurant, drinks at an old jazz club, lunch and a lakefront walk with a friend, and John’s delicious parmesan breaded chicken with homemade tomato sauce. My cup overflows.


For my birthday, I wanted a ring with a citrine, which is Will’s birthstone. I scrolled my way through Etsy, and my eye caught a silver honeycombed ring sprinkled with a few small yellow stones. I loved its unique, modern look, so I clicked through to read more about the jeweler—a Korean man who lives in Seoul. Obviously, I bought it.

When the ring arrived, with a beautiful handwritten note of thanks, I emailed the jeweler, told him how much I loved it, and explained why I’d wanted a citrine ring. I told him that Will is in his city right now, and how excited I am to go there. He emailed me back: “Thank you. I hope God bless you. Please take care of him.”

I hope I can do that soon.

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Blogger Christine said...

What a beautiful post... about a very exciting time! I adore that you received a video of Will's tol. How special! I would have watched it just as many times. This spring is going to be amazing... hang on tight!


5:30 PM  
Blogger Jaclyn and Travis said...

This is such a sweet post. You are so close, so many beautiful moments await.
I love that you have a video of his dol, very special.
Enjoy your birthday and you birthday ring from Seoul :)

9:10 AM  
Blogger tricoachgirl said...

Do you know when you might travel?

9:59 AM  

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