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Twenty-Three Love Stories: Jessica Rankin & Julie Mehretu
JESSICA RANKIN, ARTIST: We met in 2000, in a bar -the old-fashioned way! We met and had a wonderful summer together, and we were both insistent it wasn't serious, that we didn't want to rush into things, but it was really evident to those around us that what we had was something special. I realized pretty quickly that it was for the rest of my life. I think Julie was a little slower to get there! It was after six months that we started to take it seriously -- something forever. When you leave New York, you see that everyone is two steps ahead of you. I'm from Australia, and when we went there, after a couple of years, everyone I knew had one kid with a second on the way, and I said to Julie: 'What's going on? We need to get cracking on this!' We'd been together three years when we started to talk seriously about it, and we talked about whether we wanted to adopt, or give birth, and if so, who should, and all of that. We thought hard for six months and came very close to asking someone we knew [to be a donor]. We even wrote the letter, and at the last moment we put that letter away for a month. When we took it out, I read it and my heart sank. I thought, It's hard enough to find the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. I don't know if I'm ready to factor in a third party. So we decided to do the anonymous donor. Cade and Haile are five and a half years apart'Haile was born this year. If we have more, I won't do the childbirth thing. Being a family of four is different from being three, and three is different from two. It's infinitely more complicated and infinitely more wonderful.
JULIE MEHRETU, ARTIST: After the first year we were together, I knew Jessica was the person I wanted to be with. A few years into the relationship, we were traveling and came back, and Jessica was at a place where she wanted children, and I said, 'Yes, what else would we do at this stage? It's time!' The minute you have a child you're a unit, and within the first year we started living together, it felt like a family. Now we're four, and we're really a unit, but I can see having more. I'm happy with the two boys we have, but it's always nice to have more. We still manage to travel.It's more difficult with the baby and a 5-year-old, but we're always trying to stay settled and always traveling. This is only the second year Cade has lived in the same place since he was born, and this is the longest period of continuity for him.