Title: The Goodbye Baby — A Diary About Adoption
Author: Elaine Pinkerton
From: Santa Fe
Blogging since: October 2012
Post Date: May 27, 2013
“Wherever you go, you take yourself with you,” goes the saying. I think it’s true, and so I was not surprised, after arriving for a short vacation in one of my favorite cities, San Diego, to find that “Edgar” had brought himself along for the ride. He, or “it” if you prefer, had packed himself in the depths of my ginormous suitcase, amongst the slacks, tops, electronics, books, walking shoes, and books. Can’t I go anywhere to escape from that demon? Well, no. But I can fight him.
To understand Edgar, you need to know that I am a recovering adoptee. My original mother relinquished me when I was five. Even though I grew up with wonderful adoptive parents, I’ve struggled for years to come to terms with being adopted. I wish I could announce in a loud voice that I’ve succeeded in getting over my adoption issues. The best I can offer, however, is to say confidently that I am making progress.
The change of scene, happily, proved more beneficial than weeks of therapy. San Diego’s magic began to take effect the moment I arrived. The adjectives that came to mind: salubrious, sensational, scenic. Add to that another ingredient: simplicity. There is something quite wonderful about running away from home. Life is pared down to an easier pace.
My host family went to work or school every weekday at 7 a.m., so one slightly overcast Spring morning, I left for a two-hour walk to and from a nearby coffee shop. I’ve been visiting this San Diego neighborhood for the better part of the last decade and traveling the same route to the java café for all of that time. First it was called “It’s a Grind,” but that place went out of business. Then it became “Sweetest Buzz.” This time, there was no coffee shop. Where the “Buzz” should have been a completely empty retail space loomed before me. A “For Lease” sign was taped on the window. A sad, empty storefront occupied the place where I’d spent memorable hours composing on my laptop and sipping lattes.
I wondered: had the expedition fallen flat, or was there something else awaiting me? Instead of going home right away, I decided to check out the park near my host family’s house. After walking a couple miles back to the neighborhood, I sat and enjoyed a serenade of songbirds, the ambience provided by healthy young trees and a verdant carpet of green grass.
The park itself was a marvel. When I first saw it years ago, it looked unpromising, even hopeless. But on that recent spring day, the community’s outdoor space was filled with children swinging, sliding, and digging in the sandbox. Parents visited with one another. Laughter from a game of toss and catch sounded across the field. An elderly man was marching along the sidewalk, stopping at each circuit workout station to do pushups or pull-ups or walk a balance beam.
The day wasn’t complete, however, until I took a hike on the nearby former dairy road. It was a road I’d walked before; one of the city’s many walking paths. It branches off from a busy thoroughfare and loops back into a small canyon. Thistle, purple flowers, and feathery plumed bushes brighten the brown and sage terrain. Ahead of me, a large bird, strutting in a quail-like fashion, walked across my path. Other than the bird, I was alone. The sun intensified, but just in time a gentle breeze picked up.
Life felt simple and sweet.
Of course, being a grandmother/writer and retired from a regular career should mean that life is naturally simpler. But that’s not how it works, however. When I’m at home, a million projects shout out: “clean me,” “organize me,” “declutter me.” Right there, in sunny, wonderful San Diego, the only thing I had to declutter was my mind.
Accepting victory, I acknowledged that once again I had dueled the evil Edgar. On that gloriously sunny Monday, the victory was mine.
[Post edited for length]