So the packing is over and all that remained today was for the van to be loaded. We got up early again and started to sort out those last little things to do before our friends came to help Le Marie load the van. My job was to take La Belle Fille and La Petite Fille out of the house and keep them busy all day, out of the way. As we left my eldest got upset; we were leaving daddy behind! She knows something big is happening – this isn’t a normal trip to France. Everything’s changing! After I explained everything she calmed down.
I took the girls to mass; we’d missed yesterday as we had to go to London to see Les Beaux Parents and the packing Saturday meant we couldn’t go to a vigil mass. I said goodbye to parishioners I’d known since our little ones first came into our lives. Our priest blessed us for our new life and journey. It was all so surreal.
Next I took Les Petites for a haircut. We chatted about the adventure facing us and it just felt like we were off on holiday. As we drove passed the sea front I took photos of it. We really do live in a lovely part of the world, right by the sea. Most people’s dream. It’s the madness of British house prices and a society which seems to change its social mores daily that’s left us feeling adrift and made us want to move. Looking out over the stretch of water to the Isle Of Wighte I marvelled at the beauty once more. I knew it was the end of this part of my life, but this stopping and admiring felt like a tick on a list. Something I should be doing. It still didn’t register.
I met with my best friend, La Marraine, who I love dearly. She’s a proper Irish lady – you don’t mess with her; fiercely loyal and honest. A true God send. We sat in the tea shop where we sat the first time she met La Belle Fille (we were lucky to adopt our wonderful girls, so our stories of first introductions to people we love tend to be a little different). Now we were sat with my two little ones, talking, reminiscing. She kept saying “I can’t believe it’s tomorrow” and I kept saying neither could I. Still a surreal fog enveloped me.
When we came to part with promises of seeing each other soon and months named she refused to let me take her photo with the girls as she was a little emotional. I still felt like I was going on holiday.
We drove home and Le Marie was once again on his own. Tired with a sore back. La Belle Fille started to cry – where was everything? What was she going to sit on? Where was the TV??!
She calmed down again and then tears turned into elation as she realised an empty house meant an echo (cue lots of shouting) and a big place to run around it (yes, you guessed it, like a mad thing).
Le Marie tried to back the van into our drive. First a metal bracket for a none-existent flower basket scratched all the side. Then he backed it into the neighbours wall. When we finally decided that it wasn’t going to make it and tried to drive it out he took a great big chunk of the first floor roof with him! Tiles shattered on the floor with pieces of drain pipe. Squeals and tears from La Belle Fille – calmness from me and Le Marie.
Dinner eaten, car packed – now we’re lying on a matress on the floor. I said to Le Marie; ” Are you excited?” ” No, just tired.”
Maybe that’s it. We’re just tired.
We’ve wanted this for over ten years. Infertility and its path to adoption has meant there were times we thought we’d never be able to do it. Now, in the room next door to mine, a little girl sings ‘twinkle twinkle’. Another, smaller one sleeps soundly. I’m aware that when we moved to this house we wanted children so desperately and this place was a place we hoped to build a family. Now we are one, and we’re about to go on an adventure together.
Maybe that’s why I’m not reacting to the way I thought I would about this. Our real adventure started the day we stood on the bottom of some stairs looking up at a little girl who was about to become our daughter. It continued the day we sat one a couch and a tiny little girl was brought in for us to hold.
Maybe after that everything’s an anti-climax. I know one thing though; even if the road ahead gets tough, and it takes us places we didn’t think we wanted to go, that’s ok. It’s happened to us before. The change of direction brought us a love we never predicted and that I’m so grateful for.