Rebecca

In my high school newspaper, the last issue of the year always had a space where seniors got to “will” things to the underclassman. In the spirit of Palmer High, I’d like to use a public space to leave Mehrsa the length of Central Park on the hottest day of the year. I’ll leave the Jacksons a come-as-you-are breakfast, and the Gardners can have eight trumps in one hand. Sunny, though she’ll fight me on this, can have the middle back seat (and anything else she wants).

So yes, in two short weeks we’re joining the Foreign Service. Levi will work for the State Department and every couple of years we’ll move to a different country. I will handle this, without question, as gracefully as Julia Child.

Taking a government position means certain things for your future. For instance, we now know that we will never be excessively wealthy. I consoled myself on this point two days ago when the professional movers showed up. They were paid for by Levi’s new employer (you, the American people), and if you want to feel like a king, stand by and watch someone else pack up and move you.

We sat Adelaide on top of the refrigerator and gave her a candy cane. She had the time of her life, not suspecting for one minute that all of this putting things into boxes meant that in a couple of hours, there wouldn’t be anything left. I wonder if I had approached this move like Adelaide—blithely unaware until I woke up in a new place—if it might be easier to take.  Not surprisingly, it’s the leaving of people that makes this hard for me.

Though she doesn’t realize it, it’s going to be hard on Adelaide too. Since I know from firsthand experience how good friends improve a life, I’ve prayed since the day she was born that she would have some. It’s a prayer that’s been answered unequivocally and now I feel terrible that we’re taking her away from them.

Last night, while their parents talked, she and her little besties took a stab at maturity by undressing themselves so they could replace their diapers with potty-training pants. But much like that scene where eleven-year olds sneak off to shave their legs and end up with razor burn, the rite of passage turned sour. One of them had a messy (messy) diaper, which in turn left all of them, and the entire upstairs, covered in excrement. (Pictured above in post-frenzy delight.)  You just don’t find friends like that anywhere. Sigh.

But it’s not all bad. As I’m writing this, harboring unkind feelings for this new life we’re starting where we’ll make friends and then leave, I get a call from my sister-in-law who lives in Virginia. “What do you need when you get here?” she asked. “Come to dinner that night.”  It’s comforting to remember that there will be friendly faces on the other end of this move.

I’m trying to remember that it’s always been that way. I’ve never left a place without crying for the people I’m leaving, which of course means that I’ve fallen in love with people every where I’ve lived. So I’m trying to look at all of this that way–by the time we’re done, we’ll be in love with people all over the world.

Like I said, living like kings.

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