Poly Nirvana

Love, Life and Rational Polyamory


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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.


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~Give~

This evening, as I was sitting staring at a blank computer screen, idly considering whether to write about my recent anti-poly state of mind, or my excitement about my New Year’s resolution list, the doorbell rang. It was just before nine pm, and I had just put my youngest two to bed. They ran past me as I walked down the stairs, and I called after them to get back in bed, which they either did not hear, or simply ignored.(I’m fairly certain they just ignored me.) By the time I got downstairs they had the door open, and I could see a giant gift basket that the two of them were struggling to drag into the house, as they giggled and called for me to hurry.

Inside this big wicker basket, decorated with red garland, there was a pile of food: a ham, salad, rolls. There were pies and chocolate. There were gift cards to the movies, and one for an arcade near our house. There was a necklace with a black and pink kitten charm. A few other small things that showed personal knowledge of our family were included.

These words were written on a card:

“Merry Christmas. We learned years ago that our family enjoys Christmas more when we give gifts to others rather than each other. Gathering this basket for your family has given us an excuse to gather together brothers and sisters who rarely see each other and has given us a purpose that united us and made us feel good. We didn’t choose your family because we think you are needy. The decision was pretty random, but we think you’re great and hope you have a wonderful Christmas!”

People are amazing. Merry Christmas, friends. Do something nice for someone this year. Something big, something little, it doesn’t matter. Do it for yourself.


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~Inspiration~

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I’m having technical issues. Creativity issues. Inspiration issues.

I wanted to do a pictorial. It’s not something I do, or rather, have ever done. I always enjoy pictures in other blogs, they seem to add a taste of reality to the people I like reading about. Without boring you with the details, please enjoy this one single picture of my two youngest eating breakfast before school on Friday. Special Man commented on my “good eye” with this picture. Taking pictures is something I’d like to explore more in the next year. I’ve been contemplating my New Year’s Resolution list, which I’ve come to look forward to more and more in the past five years or so. It’s exhilarating to think about the potential for change and the possibility of new and good things to come. Someone recently suggested I try twelve goals for the upcoming year, and that sounds like an awful lot but I’m a little bit giddy about trying it.

Yesterday I had a big cookie swap party planned, and it was a huge success.  Mostly, I count it as a success because I managed to give my kids something they really wanted to do: a big gathering with friends and family.  And also, because my head didn’t explode from the stress.  I had planned the most casual, low-stress (I thought) thing that I could think of that was festive and would accommodate both a large number of people, and a wide age-range.  I’m disappointed that none of my siblings could be there, but there were cousins and grandparents and friends everywhere.

The stress came from this cookie making.  I had scoured Pinterest (yes, I do love Pinterest) for an easy, yet impressive holiday cookie recipe.  I found something called Oreo Cookie Truffle Balls.  Perfect, I thought.  Different but simple.  They turned out to be different, yes, but they were anything but simple.  Halfway through the first batch, I knew I needed a Plan B.

Enter Special Man Friend, stage right.

(On top of everything else that has been going on, I’ve decided that my body needs to be off of gluten.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know it’s kind of the trendy thing right now, but I have been wheat and grain sensitive for years, and have gone periods of time avoiding gluten, and I know that for me, I just feel better when I am eating whole, simple foods, and staying away from it.  In addition, I am working towards positive solutions for this depression that keeps dancing around me, and I figure if my physical body feels better, I will feel better in general.)

SMF rescued me with gluten-free peanut butter cookies, and he didn’t even blink an eye over it.  He got the ingredients from the store, he let the kids help roll them out, he did it all.  Then he braved the local dollar store with me, on a Saturday no less, ten days before Christmas, so that I could pick up coloring books and crayons for the cousins to have during the party.  He wasn’t phased.  Or rather, he may have been phased, but he didn’t let it stop him from doing what needed to be done.  And he didn’t take it out on me. I found myself expecting an explosion or a meltdown from him, and I think that was simply a residual situational expectation leftover from my childhood and my marriage.  I really wanted to tell SMF that we should just forget the coloring books. That we should just go home.  That the traffic was too bad.  All of this, in an effort to avoid the explosion or meltdown that I thought was just under the surface. Of course, he’s a different man than either my father was, or my ex-husband is.  And he hasn’t ever given me cause to expect those negative reactions.  It’s fascinating to me, the patterns that we train ourselves to recognize and feel and react to.

At the end of the party, as SM was walking out the door, my mother caught him, and asked him if his intentions toward me were honorable.  She used those words.  I think she may have been making a friendly and light joke, but he and I looked at each other, and then he said something like, “Of course they are, I love this lady.”  “Good,” my mom said.  He and I walked out the door and laughed all the way to his car.  We giggled about alternative things we could have said to her, that need to be said to her, but that was not the time.  Honorable intentions?  “Why yes,” he could have said, “I love this lady.  And my wife kind of likes her too.”

Now that would have been entertaining.


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~Resting~

I slept thirteen hours last night. Hard.

Who sleeps thirteen hours?

I spent an hour last night at the local Hobby Lobby, with my baby sister and her fiancee choosing flowers for her wedding in January. I used to dabble with flower arranging, worked a in a flower shop or two, and helped out on holidays here and there over the years. It’s a big project, and feels even bigger because I’m not quite on board with the idea of her getting married at such a young age. She is just a baby! I realize I’m projecting some of my own personal baggage onto her, but I’m trying to keep it in check. She and Fiancee will be getting married in the local Mormon temple, which means that anyone who is not a worthy member of the LDS church, will be unable to attend. As a sinner, I get to wait outside while the ceremony takes place inside, and then the couple will come out and we will disperse to the church meetinghouse for a reception in the cultural hall, which is pretty much a multipurpose room and gym and sometimes there’s a stage on one end. Of course, they raise the basketball hoops out of the way for things like wedding receptions.

Lest you think I am not respectful of other people’s life choices, I am. I will make the flowers beautiful, and I will truly wish her well. I hope that she is happy, and that, unlike me, she doesn’t feel, in twenty years, that her choices were limited by the Mormon status quo. I used to be bitter. Now I’m just a little regretfully wistful.

I seem to be fighting with Special Man, and I’m not exactly sure why. I see a pattern, in myself, that I’m not sure how to change. I’m a terrible fighter. I want to withdraw, run away, apologize and make it all better. It’s not the apologizing that I take issue with. It’s that I use it as an avoidance strategy. It’s one I used with my exhusband often. Walk on eggshells, be the compliant good girl. Lose myself in keeping the peace. And now I’m hung up on being heard, and I wonder if it’s making everything worse; if I’m making everything worse.

So there it is. I’m going to nest in today, let the kids order pizza, eat some chocolate, and watch movies. If I can get some puppy cuddles in, all the better.


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~Polite~

Oh my.

CC’s parents are here in town for Thanksgiving. CC’s siblings are coming tomorrow, they are planning a big dinner with both turkey and lamb, and they are spending most of this week doing family things. I’m not exactly sure what spurred CC and Special Man to decide that this would be a good time for them to come out as poly to her parents, but they did. I haven’t had a chance to hear the details of how the conversation when this morning, but SM texted me mid-afternoon and said it was “a little awkward, but okay. As long as we’re happy they’re happy.”

So tonight, 6:30pm found me sitting in my car, in the parking lot of the sushi restaurant where Special Man and I had our first date more than two years ago, psyching myself up to go in and have dinner with my boyfriend, his wife, her boyfriend and his wife’s parents.

I was freaking out, gentle readers.

Not because I expected anything dramatic. I was fairly confident that there wouldn’t be any talk of polyamory specifics, and that I wouldn’t be fielding any difficult questions. It was just completely surreal. I’m on the verge of being completely out as a person that I absolutely never envisioned, for most of my adult life. Two of my sons and I have had fairly in depth conversations in the last 24 hours, and they know that meeting CC is forthcoming. They know that she and SM have been together for many years and that they live together.

Somehow, the kicker for me, is the fact that they are married. I have stopped short of telling them that part, but I refuse to have them meet her until I’m able to say it, knowing that once I do say it, I am completely and totally out to my entire family. I am letting them absorb, or at least I’m telling myself that I am letting them absorb before I give them this final bit of information.

I raised my now teenaged children very conservatively, in an extreme religious environment for most of their childhoods. I am living a life and teaching them things now, that are completely at odds with where we were ten years ago. I am afraid that this will be too much for them. That they will be angry, confused. I mean, really, even I was confused when I first started exploring polyamory. Of course they will be confused.

Dinner was pleasant. CC’s parents are adorable and kind and just downright nice. CC’s boyfriend, who I can’t think of a clever name for, was also there, and that helped my comfort level a little bit. I kind of wondered what they were thinking about this whole situation, but everyone seemed content with small talk, and so I certainly wasn’t going to interrogate them.

I’ve felt a bit emotionally distant from SM since we got back from Ohio. I can’t put my finger on why exactly. It was hard for me to be with him for those four days, and then not have him here at all. It’s almost as if I’m having some Partner Withdrawal. I need a hit, man!

This afternoon the kids and I had a mini-Thanksgiving ourselves, as I have to work both Wednesday and Thursday nights this year, and will be sleeping all day Thursday in between my shifts. My brood will spend Thanksgiving day with my mother, and I’m grateful for that, as it lessens my Mommy guilt just a little.

Tonight, as I left the sushi place, CC’s father hugged me and it really did feel good, and okay. I’m interested to talk with her, and find out what it means to her to be out to her parents. Though I’m out to my own father, I am fairly apprehensive to have that conversation with my mother.

But it needs to happen soon. If only so my brain will stop thinking about it.

Good night, little brain.


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~Spoken~

I choked.

Special Man and I were at dinner with Dad and his long-term girlfriend. And I was emotional and not feeling well; I had all but decided to let things go for another conversation, another day. After all, why did Dad need to know anything about my alternative relationship structure? Who the hell cared?

We sat at dinner, eating a fantastic gumbo, and chatting.  My ribs were aching, and it was only the second time I had been out since the car accident ten days before.  I was idly wishing I was at home in bed.  Special Man and Dad carried the conversation easily, and I was content to mostly listen, and comment occasionally.

And then my father, in all his wisdom (or fatherly sixth sense) said, “So is there a reason for this dinner?”

And there it was. I hadn’t seen it coming. I couldn’t speak. I started to cry. It was stress, it was emotion, it was fear.

SMF asked me if I wanted him to talk and I nodded. I had no words.

Of course Special Man said all the right things. He expressed his love for me and his commitment to me. He talked of honesty and openness. He spoke freely of not knowing exactly what our relationship would look like in another two, or five years, but that he could not see his life without me in it in some way.

I wish I had a transcript of the things my father then spoke. Amazing and beautiful things about how I deserved to have this love and tenderness. Insightful and wise things about owning my choices and my adulthood. Thoughtful and kind things about reassuring my children when we get to the point of being completely out.

As we parted, he hugged Special Man. “Welcome to the family,” he said. And I know he meant it. Then he told me that he loved me and that I was a good girl.

It was like a damn Lifetime movie.

I spent most of the next day trying not to over analyze and second guess everything that had been said, or not said. Today I feel relieved.  My Dad loves me and that’s all any little girl wants to know.

Funny thing is, I haven’t felt like a little girl in a long, long time.


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~Patriarch~

My dad grew up in an unhappy, sometimes violent, certainly emotionally abusive family.  His father essentially abandoned his family when my dad was 16.  He left for another woman, with whom he’d had an affair and subsequently married.  My dad swore he would never ever do that to his children, or to the mother of his children. Ever.

The promises we make ourselves to preserve our sense of honor, can come back and make things hell for those we love…and for ourselves. My father grew up, and like his father, also had an affair.  My mother was apparently aware for years, but due to an unrelenting religious point of view regarding eternal marriage and a fundamental belief in unconditional love, she waited, and watched, and prayed that he would leave the girlfriend.  I don’t know all the details of the heartache, the conversations, or the promises made.  I do know that he maintained his extra-marital relationship for almost ten years before he and my mother eventually divorced.

My dad is the best example I know of someone who made bad decision, after bad decision, and then decided it was enough. He was a distant father, difficult to please and very critical.  Looking back now, as a grown woman, I see it.  I felt the criticism that came off of him in waves, and it was never really about me.  It was him.  It was always  about him.

At some point, in my thirties, after he and my mother had ended their marriage, something shifted for my father.  He  apologized.  To everyone.  He was humble.  He told his children he loved them, and he told them often.  He hugged more, he criticized less.  He made sure that he was always available to his grandchildren.

He showed up.  

Tomorrow night, Special Man and I are going to dinner with my father, and his significant other, the same girlfriend he has had for fifteen or so years.  The irony here, is so exquisite, it makes my teeth ache.  This man, who I grew up afraid of, and intimidated by, who was never able talk to his children, or be true and honest with himself for years, and years, is who I’m choosing to come out to as poly.

It’s time.  I don’t know how he will react.  I suspect he will be sad, yet supportive of me as a person who makes her own choices.  I don’t know how quickly I may choose to tell the rest of my family.  My sister, the Beautician, is aware that SMF is married, and she and I have talked about what it means to be poly.  She thinks the whole thing is weird. She feels I am being taken advantage of.  As for the rest of my family…it’s only really my mother who scares me. She will be at once heartbroken and righteously indignant.  She will wonder how she failed me. She will more than likely tell me that Jesus still loves me.  She may not talk to me again for some time.

But that is a worry for another day.  I have no fear of my father any more.  He loves me, and will continue to love me, even if he does not understand or agree with my choices.  I’m okay with that.

Because I believe he will continue to show up.


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~Guilt~

I had a dream recently.  I can’t get it out of my head.

Basically, I was going to be late for work, and I couldn’t get my children away from a perfect looking, motherly angel of a woman who gave them cake on a yacht, and looked at me as if I were a monster as I tried to get my children off of said yacht and into the car so that I could get to the hospital on time.

Five minutes after I woke, I knew this was a mommy guilt dream.  I am a (very) single parent, and I am often leaving my children.  Most of the time, I am leaving them for my job, or to run errands.  But sometimes, I leave them just so I can go and have fun.  Be assured, that my children are old enough to be left alone, in fact my oldest at home just turned eighteen, but sometimes, the guilt pokes and pokes at me.  My mother stayed at home and had babies, and made bread, and always put on makeup right before my father came home.  (She also told me once, that I should always smile at my father, so that he wouldn’t yell at me so much.  True story.)

Today, when my kids were getting ready to leave for their first day of school, we were out of milk causing two of them to eat ramen noodles for breakfast, I hadn’t bought all the school supplies on the endless list, one of them left without saying goodbye, and I didn’t take any pictures to be proudly displayed on that pesky social networking site that starts with an “f”.  After they had left the house, and all was quiet, I sat with my coffee, and wrote.  I didn’t do dishes, I didn’t fold laundry.

It was glorious.