Poly Nirvana

Love, Life and Rational Polyamory


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~Easy~

Thanksgiving was wonderful.  There’s no other word for it. It felt happy and comfortable.  My house was full, the food was delicious, and my kids didn’t embarrass me. After years of parenting, I figure if my children know this one rule, it covers most behavior:  Don’t embarrass me.  Fortunately, they can all quote this rule without any prompting.

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Special Man and CC were here, and I had a particularly nice time being in CC’s space, and having her in mine.  I think we’ve finally made it to an authentic commitment to each other, as a part of this bigger picture of our individual relationships and how they affect us. It’s not just about being polite any more, which we were sometimes (too many times) not very good at.  Anyway, she is a much fancier cook than I am, and she made some amazing food, the kind that you take pictures of.  I’m the mother of many teenage boys…I made the basics, and yes, that included stuffing from a box.  Somehow it all worked together, my instant potatoes and gravy, side by side with her spinach gratin and pumpkin cheesecake.  I think that while cooking is her thing, getting my kids fed and happy is my thing, and everyone was satisfied.  We even had a ham and turkey.

I thought it was interesting that while I am fully about time and simplicity when it comes to food, It was important to me to have a pretty table, and nice dishes.  I conceded with super nice, heavy clear plastic plates, but we had tablecloths and candles and a few festive decorations, and we ate together.  It was a nice balance of formal and easy. I loved it, and everything just worked together.  My green bean casserole, with the canned soup and those exquisite fried onions, sat side by side with CC’s fancy brussels sprout, apple, bacon, almond, cranberry dish, and everyone was happy.  (Well, I was very happy.)

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CC’s partner of a few years was also here, as were SMF’s sister and a date.  We had sixteen people and I didn’t stress out too much. I stressed out just the right amount, actually. The kids played Rock Band, we put a movie on, we colored with markers.

I can’t wait to do it again. I’m thinking about maybe instituting a monthly family poly dinner.  Sometimes small, sometimes larger, but just with people we are genuinely connected to.

Tomorrow is Georgia’s big surgery, and so I am in preparation mode.  SMF is here, after struggling each of the nights before the last two surgeries, I finally just came out and asked him to be with me the night before this one.  Monday night is generally the night he spends a few hours with Mrs. A, and I kind of wondered if it was unreasonable of me to even ask for him to be here instead of there.  And I decided, after two horrible “night-befores”, where I felt overwhelmed and worried and stressed out and alone…that it was better to say what I needed, and how I was feeling, and what I thought would help.  So here we are, I’m packing and puttering and baking banana muffins, and he’s working on job-related stuff upstairs, and everything feels just a little better.  He’s my people, and I’m glad he’s here. It’s nice to have a friend here, and he’ll stay tonight, and leave straight for work in the morning.

I’ll be on my own tomorrow, while Georgia is under anesthesia.  Special Man couldn’t take the day off of work.  I’m disappointed, but I don’t feel alone.  I’m important, and I’m loved, and I can do this.  Three major surgeries in eight weeks…  I’ll be relieved to celebrate New Year’s this year, with these behind us.

Good night.  Time for sleep.


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~Touch~

 

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I named him Leo, after Leo McGarry from West Wing.  He was born ten days before I started nursing school, and he’s an enthusiastic, energetic, creative, affectionate and loving kid.  This sucks.  I’d like to say, all’s well that ends well, but right now even my bones are exhausted, and Leo just told me I should take a shower.  I guess two days of stress and worry can make a momma bear a little frayed around the edges.

And stinky, apparently.

Yesterday was a long day, with surgery lasting just over three hours, and a long recovery period complicated by violent vomiting that would not stop.  He was given drug after drug, a fluid bolus, acupressure wrist bands that might help (they didn’t), more drugs, and, when a kind nurse told me she was trained in “therapeutic touch”, and offered to work on his energy, I said bring it.  (I wish I had a picture.)  She was a very kind woman, who didn’t bat an eye when he began to throw up during her healing session.

We tried more drugs.  Finally. Peace.

And then my important person was there  I had almost tried to let him off the hook earlier in the evening. He texted me right back.

::I need to be with you, kitten. I’ll be there in 30 minutes::

(He calls me kitten sometimes.  It’s my favorite.)

He apologized for getting upset when I told him I wasn’t happy he was leaving town this week.  “I wasn’t thinking,” he said.   He isn’t going anywhere.  And, in three weeks and six days, when it’s time for Georgia’s surgery, he’s taking a personal day at work so he can be with us.  And that is how I want my relationships to work.  Communicate, adjust and readjust, move forward.  I’m fortunate that I get to recognize these small milestones, because that’s how I see them, as important little relationship mile markers.   Look at us, I think sometimes.  We are really doing this.

Tonight CC and SMF were both here.  She sat and crocheted, he ordered sandwiches and managed the bedside table for Leo.  I sat on the floor, my arms wrapped around my knees and did not cry.  It was easy, this being together, and in my exhausted state I felt emotional, and raw, and grateful.


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~Singular~

You know what I kind of love?

My one-word titles.

It wasn’t always like this, the single word blog post title.But it evolved fairly quickly.  Now I find choosing a title, almost as pleasurable as writing a good post. That’s a little weird, right?

I don’t care.  I’m weird.

Sometimes the title comes first.  Sometimes it comes last. But it always gives me a small tingle of satisfaction, to choose that title.

I chose the word Singular for this, yesterday, simply in reference to my single word title tradition.

But today, it’s appropriate for something completely different.  As I’m preparing for my little Leo to have his big surgery tomorrow, I find myself wondering how much longer I can be alone.  Single.

Now this was a really random thought that floated through my brain late last night.  Because I’m not exactly single.  I do think of myself as attached.  But functionally, I am single.  Solitary. I do not have a “nesting partner”.  (I absolutely love this phrase, nesting partner.)  In the generally accepted language of polyamory, I do not have a primary

What this means to me, is that as important as I am to Special Man Friend, I stand alone in much of my life. I’m alone in checking the mail and walking in my house with a handful of medical bills that will not stop any time soon.  I’m alone in packing for tomorrow, and in making sure I’ve got the pantry stocked for the other kids.  I’m alone in making sure I’ve picked up the prescriptions, made the follow up appointments, planned for the financial challenge of being off for several weeks with each child’s surgery.

We aren’t connected in that way.

He’s a huge support to me, emotionally. He loves me, and he truly loves my children.  But this is all on me.  As is planning for retirement, making sure I schedule for the sprinklers to be blown out, doing the laundry, deciding to move, or disciplining my children.  He will be at the hospital, tomorrow after work, and likely Wednesday as well.  But he’s giving everything he has available. I know this, and yet, today, it doesn’t feel like I have what I want.  Ironically, I don’t really WANT to intermingle finances with anyone, and I certainly don’t need someone else parenting my children. But I want my important person by my side. I will sit alone tomorrow, waiting for my child to come out of surgery.  Because it’s all on me.

This is where I am, as a polysingle, solo poly, secondary, satellite partner.  I don’t know which term I like, because most of the time I am just ME.  I don’t identify as any of those words.  I know I am loved and cherished.

Over the weekend, SMF told me he was moving up an out of state trip, planned for two weekends from now, to THIS weekend, and he’d be leaving on Thursday, most likely when Leo was still in the hospital. It wasn’t a discussion, he was just informing me.

And that hurt.

It took me a day to be able to process what was going on with me, in my head.  I didn’t want to sit and stew about it.  I’ve done that in the past, in an effort to avoid conflict, but it always comes back to bite me.  I am working towards much more transparent and healthy communication. I texted him from work.

::I have to tell you I’m kind of disappointed you’re leaving town this week, before we even see how Leo does.  He’s your people too.  I don’t think you are uncaring.  But this is a really big deal and I feel solidly alone in it::

There was some back and forth.  He has a lot on his plate too, and needed some alone time, and while I really, really do get that, THIS IS A BIG SCARY THING THAT HAS BEEN ON THE CALENDAR FOR SEVERAL MONTHS AND MY PERSON WANTED TO LEAVE TOWN.

Then I got to have the internal dialogue in my head, about whether or not I was being selfish, or doing good poly, or being a good partner.

But you know what? After everything we’ve done to establish ourselves as committed to each other, I have the right to say, “Hold on.”  Sometimes it really does come down to whose needs are greater.  Does that make me selfish?  I’m not sure.  In this moment, maybe.  Yes.

I didn’t tell him I was upset about him leaving in order to guilt him into anything.  I told him so that I wouldn’t swallow that hurt and resentment down so hard, and so deep, that it would eat it’s way back up and explode on him in the future.  That just doesn’t seem fair to him, or to me.  My plan was to tell him, exactly what I needed to say, and then at least he would be able to make an informed decision about how this could affect me, or us. He could never say, he didn’t know how I felt.

I am not sure if he will go or not, but I feel good about trying to be healthy in my relationship with him.

Now I’m off to the pharmacy to pick up pre-op prescriptions.


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~Sometimes~

Sometimes when I want to write, I’ve got nothing to share.

At least I feel that way.

The truth is, I have a million things I could write about.  But I tell myself:  Meh.

This morning, laying in my bed alone in the dark, listening to my children get ready for school, I found myself wishing that I could have had a child with SMF.  As soon as the thought entered my head, the following conversation, with myself, ensued:

You are crazy.

::I’m not crazy. We would have beautiful children together.::

Whatever.

Next weekend is the Beyond The Love poly conference in Ohio.  I presented last year, and loved it.  It’s a huge disappointment to me that I can’t attend this year, but I’ve already been making plans for next year.  The reason I can’t go is big and complicated.  Myself and three of my children have something called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 2A.  Google it if you like, but it’s a genetic syndrome that carries a 99 to 100 percent chance of medullary thyroid cancer.  (Yes. 99 to 100 percent.)  It’s super rare, and I’ve been told by an excited doctor that we are the largest “cohort” in Idaho.

Great.

So on Tuesday my 11 year old, Leo, will have a total thyroidectomy, four weeks after his brother, and four weeks before his sister.  It’s a four hour surgery, and as the mommy, it’s nerve-wracking, and complicated, and tiring.  When we discovered it a few years ago, I had two distinct types of cancer.  I’m lucky.  It’s gone now.

And I still would rather be at Beyond The Love with my friends.  Dumb cancer.


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~Uno~

Special Man Friend and his wife came for cards and pizza.  It was the first time CC met my children.

I cleaned my kitchen and sent one of the boys to pick up pizza. I was really nervous.  When I came out to my kids as poly, I was genuinely surprised at the neutrality of their reactions.  The worst I got was, “Huh.  That’s kind of weird.” and the best was, “Hey, the important thing is that you are happy.”

But meeting Special Man’s wife?  I wanted it to happen. I want the big happy poly extended family.  It’s been a long time coming, this first meeting, and truthfully, there was a time I didn’t think it was possible that we would ever make this step.

Life is full of surprises.  We are constantly changing and evolving as human creatures, and I am so grateful for that.

The whole thing was uneventful.  My kids were polite, well mannered, accepting.  My 19 year old had told me in advance that he was supportive but uncomfortable, and wasn’t sure if he would stay and hang out, and I was happy that he was able to tell me that.  He did meet CC, and stayed for a few minutes, but soon retreated.  We ate dinner, and then played a few rounds of cutthroat Uno, and it was easy, and casual, and relaxed.

We are already planning Thanksgiving.  Things feel good.


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~So~

My ex-husband is getting married. In two weeks. I found out about this a week ago.

Being formerly LDS, and married in the LDS temple, where “eternal marriage” is considered the most holy of ordinances, I received a letter from the church asking me my feelings about him being “sealed” to another woman.

“Hallelujah”, I thought.

“I have no issue with him remarrying,” I wrote.

Of course this has brought up questions from the kids about marriage, and relatiohships, and when I’ll be getting married again. Because that’s what you do, when you’re old and single. Get married. My daughter, Georgia, says I should just say, “Man, I wish someone would propose to me”, and then Special Man will marry me. It’s been a rough week. Not only do I get to process some residual feelings from my failed marriage, but I get to deal with some of those mononormative knee-jerk reactions that I still carry. Marriage is romantic and dreamy. Weddings are exciting, and everyone is full of hope for the future, and love for each other. Weddings validate. It doesn’t matter that my children have yet to meet this new wife of their father, or that this wedding is happening extremely fast for any sane person’s taste. They are still validated because marriage is the ultimate stamp of respectability and acceptance.

I have a stable relationship of two and a half years. A wedding would not make it any more stable or loving, but it’s hard to get away from those societal norms. To be perfectly honest, I think Special Man and I would be terrible domestic partners. Seriously. (I’ve told him this before, and he disagrees, but I think he knows I’m right.) Still, the dress and the doves and the declarations of love…what little girl hasn’t been told that this is the ultimate accomplishment of her young life? And the fantasy still makes me sigh a little, though I’m a realist and I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever marry again.

A romantic commitment ceremony in the woods, however, might be another story.

A few nights ago we had birthday cake for SMF with the kids. It was good, and comfortable. I wouldn’t want to trade my alternative relationship configuration for another automatic marriage. I couldn’t.

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~Morning~

This morning one of my teenagers woke me up with a hug, and said, “Thanks for feeding me so I don’t starve, Mom.” Understandably confused by this sudden display of gratitude, I asked him what he wanted, thinking that he wanted money or something. “It’s Valentine’s Day,” he said, “and I’m trying to be nice.”

“Thanks, honey,” I said and went back to sleep for another twenty minutes before my youngest daughter was prodding me out of bed to drive her and her brother to school. I should have taken a picture of the Valentine’s Day getup she had put together. Pink and white gingham taffeta party dress. Raspberry and black argyle tights. Pepto-Bismol pink butterfly shaped glasses. Her hair was gloriously bendy from the eight braids she had slept in last night in preparation for her school party. She was a fantastic mess; her very own girl, and she was thrilled with how she looked.

I have long learned to appreciate this kind of individuality. There are probably younger parents who look at her and think I’m crazy. I’m okay with that. At 44, I’m a much different parent than I was when I was at 34. Or 24. I look at her and I hope that she maintains that strong sense of self, and that she remains confident in liking what she likes.

At breakfast, my youngest son told me that my nose piercing was “weird” because I was pretty much fifty.

Now I’m not sure what being almost fifty has to do with anything, but I’m only 44, and I’m just me, I told him. And I like it. “But what about getting a tattoo?” he said. “Most people get their first tattoo in their twenties!”

“So?” I said. “I think it’s awesome.”

And that was the end of that. He starts junior high next year. He cares what people think. I get it.

It’s horrible outside: gray and rainy, with an icky wind. I’m rethinking my date to the hot springs tonight. Sushi and then a movie or something inside sounds much (much) more appealing. (And sex. I’m really looking forward to having some time for sex! This once a week business is for the birds.)


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~Not~

Today is not my birthday.

But it is the day I gave birth to a small child, fourteen years ago. I called him my angel baby from the beginning. He had such a soft and shiny way about him. Now I look at him and my heart worries. He is still soft and shines bright. He has no pretense, no social cunning, no persona. He is brilliant, awkward, and unguarded.

He is just the kind of boy who appears as a bright blip on the great and terrible radar of the worst kind of life’s bullies.

We had a conversation, he and I, about life and relationships. He might want to have children, he tells me. He’s not sure if he will get married to a woman. We’ll see, he told me, he might want to be with a man. “We’ll see,” he said, matter-of-factly. “Maybe both.”

“Maybe both.” It was interesting moment for me, as a mother. I flashed forward, ten years, then twenty. It’s true, the masses who follow societal expectations, pass unnoticed, for the most part. They fall into line, and float along, reaping the benefits of privilege in return for their conformity.

But not this child. With just two words, his “We’ll see,” spoke volumes to me about his character. His open mind, his open heart. All at once, I wanted to scoop him up and lock him high in a tower, a la Rapunzel, just to protect his sweet small heart. I want the world for him, however he chooses to live out his life. I will keep the tiny part of my heart quiet that secretly wishes he would take the path of least resistance. Because the rest of my heart is happy and proud of this boy who has his whole life in front of him, and who isn’t automatically buying the first thing that’s presented to him.

“Maybe both.” That’s my angel boy.


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~Aftermath~

Christmas afternoon I wandered around surveying the damage, taking a few pictures. The ham dinner was done, the presents unwrapped. Children lounged here and there, and all I wanted was a nap. My youngest had burned her arm on a hot cookie sheet, and I had forgotten to put the candy canes on the tree on Christmas Eve, but all in all, it was an uneventful holiday. I’m determined to start earlier next year with the shopping and preparation. The kids and I had a conversation Christmas morning about doing a Thrift Store Christmas theme next year. Everyone seems excited about it. We shop second hand often, so I think it will be fun for all of us.

Now that we are through with Christmas, I can turn my attention to my New Year’s party, and then, just a few days later, my baby sister’s wedding. I still have more than a dozen centerpieces to put together. I need to work on a non-cynical smile for the reception as well. I’m happy that Special Man Friend will be with me that day, and I’m sure I will have a few secret giggles at the irony of the situation. I expect my ex-husband will be invited. My mother has taken him in as a lost soul, and gives him a lot of emotional support, though not as much now as in the past. In fact he lived with her for some time after we divorced, and I think that put a big wedge in our relationship. It felt like a betrayal.

Last night I spent the evening at CC’s boyfriend’s home with his wife, Foxy. SMF and a few other friends were there as well. We played Cards Against Humanity, and I laughed and laughed and it felt glorious. SMF and CC left early, and I stayed late, eating good food and drinking good drinks. I was informed that I was a horrible drink mixer, and I’m now resigned to letting Foxy make my drinks, forever. I curled up under my brand new Wonder Woman blanket, given to me by MSquared and Foxy, and we talked about silly things and serious things and everything in between. It was lovely. The blog even came up, when MSquared told me that someone had asked him a while back, how it felt to be “famous” because he had made it into my blog. That made us laugh and laugh. We talked a little about OKCupid, and someone mentioned that you can delete all your answered questions and start over, and that your matches will change, as well as the people you see. I think I may need to do that. It’s time to meet more people. To expand my circle. There are some things I want that I do not have now.

It’s time.

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~Eve~

I remember the electric anticipation of Christmas Eve when I was a small girl. Christmas was magic at my house. My mother lived and breathed Christmas. We did not have a lot of money, but Christmas was absolutely monumental.  Toys laid out from Santa, everywhere; stockings overflowing with treasures. My mom loved it. Sugar cookies and a  gingerbread house every year.  When my sisters and I woke up on Christmas morning, the tree was magically covered with candy canes that had not been there when we went to sleep.  It was a wonderful touch.

I am getting a little bit excited this afternoon, though in my own muted adult-ish way.  Tonight my kidlets and I are having a fun “appetizer dinner”, and the meatballs are already working in the crockpot.  Special Man Friend is joining us, and it’s a little bittersweet, because I had hoped that at some point CC would be included in life with my kids, but we just aren’t there.  (I used to say, we aren’t there YET, but there’s been a shift within myself the past few weeks, and I am realizing that maybe we won’t ever get there.)  But I am excited about having him here tonight.  Last year at Christmas, he was out of state with CC visiting their families.  The previous year, we had just started dating, and were nowhere near considering sharing holidays.  Shoot, I had no plans to even introduce him to my kids at all.  Ever.

The holidays have been a challenge this year.  I know a lot of people struggle.  For me, its an overwhelming sense of pressure to be good enough, to do enough, to make things fun and perfect and memorable.  Generally, I consider myself a failed perfectionist, and I have to fight the tendency I have to give up and do nothing, lest I risk failing at doing the perfect thing.  It’s a little bit ridiculous.

Tonight we are going to just chill out and eat, and decorate waffle cone Christmas trees with canned frosting and candy.  We will drag our pillows and blankets downstairs and cuddle up in front of the Miracle on 34th Street (the one from the 90’s, its my favorite!).  I can’t wait.