Baby Steps

I think a normal part of adulthood is waiting for your parent(s) to accept you.

My mother may have called our relationship disgusting, but she has also somewhat expressed a desire to be in my life, albeit in a cowardly way. She won’t call, and when she comes to pick me up she won’t come in the house, or really say anything to Gabe when he opens the door. Still she asks me to not disappear (part of her fear about me being in a ‘cult’), and once told me that she was forgetting what my laugh sounded like.

Not my fault you want to reject my family.

It took me about four months of being pregnant to finally break the news to her. She burst into tears. Later she called me and reminded me that, “To him he’s just a number, but this is your first child,” and to make sure that he (we didn’t know the gender at the time) didn’t get neglected. Side note: there are a lot of kids in our family, but also a lot of parents to love and adore them.

I started to believe that with this new development my mother would be forced to accept the father of my child as a permanent part of my life. Either she accept that I’ve made him my family, or reject her grandchild. A few days after Guinevere was born, my mother and sister asked to come by the house. I was unsure about how I felt about it, and reluctantly agreed to it. Alice, Bailey, and Edward each said they would draw a line if she got ‘out of hand’- I assured them that I would draw the line first if she became judgmental.

I didn’t want to feel judged, which often happens in her presence. One of the things she judges is how clean a house is. She cleans houses for a living, but even before she did she believed in cleaning the house before having guests come over, which I found out isn’t universally shared- Bailey was oblivious to such rule of thumb. I want the kids to maintain this tradition, so I emphasized how important it was to have the house clean before we were expecting her, fibbing a bit about the estimated time of arrival so we would have room for error. Somehow the time rolled around and the house was in worse shape! Blame it on the still stabilizing hormones, but I was embarrassed, disgusted, and felt disrespected. “If you don’t want her to come, call it off,” Ed suggested. I told him it’s not just that, but I would be humiliated with the way the house was. Thankfully he addressed the situation with the boys. It was also a relief that she couldn’t make it that day.

When another date was agreed upon, I kept my mouth shut about the state of the house (to prevent possibly jinxing it). My mother and sister came over with gifts, one for me, one for the baby. I had a gift for each of them as well, which was a huge accomplishment due to all the things I had going on the past few months and the challenge of finding something without too much sentiment. Guinevere received a bulk box of diapers, some velcro-swaddle-blanket-thingies, socks, and one of those fancy thermometers you swipe over their foreheads. I got a relaxation kit, a gift basket with loose leaf black tea, teacup, honey, biscuits, a cute spoon, and a Toblerone (the first thing gone). They huddled around me and the baby in a corner. I think I invited them three times to have a seat. Eventually they did, huddled together on the couch. The girls would each come over to get a little attention, be it to get noticed by the ‘new people’ or to make sure the ‘new people’ didn’t get all of my focus. I welcomed the interruptions, but my mother would attempt to ignore them, looking at them briefly with a sort of glazed look in her eyes. She reminded me of how the Nazis would dehumanize the Jews. I tried pausing the conversation to point out how smart and beautiful each of the kids are, and still I saw how my mother rejected their importance in my life. I raved over the wild-boar stew that Ed made and offered it to them, and they declined. Coffee? Declined. Not long after, they had ‘other things they needed to do’, and left.

I was rather put off by their behavior. Bailey was pretty ticked as well, and thought I hadn’t been assertive enough. I pointed out how quiet they are, and that you can’t really be confrontational with them, and the ways that I had been assertive with them. Bailey’s family is a bit louder, with their communication as well as with their actions. I spoke to my friend Steve about how I felt about the event, bitter towards my mother’s indifference. He pointed out that at least she came over, which was a step forward, and how that in itself was a big deal. Baby steps.

Parents need to take baby steps, too.

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Blue

I lay Guinevere in her basinet. The basinet is crammed between a small corner desk and the play pen that serves as Grace’s crib until she moves into the big girls’ room. Ten month old Grace pulls down the blue blanket I had hung on the edge of the basinet, tugging on it and tangling it around her feet, fussing from frustration. “Don’t take that, your sister’s using it! Look, you already have one.” I unwrap it from around her legs and start to tuck it under Guinevere when Grace starts wailing. Experimentally I hand it back to her. She snatches it up and goes quiet.

“Really?” I ask. Alice watches, dumbfounded. “Fine then,” I announce, and I take the pink blanket from right next to her, and turn my body to hide it from her view.

I wait.

Silence.

“Really?” I tuck the pink one under Guinevere.

Unaware of the event that took place, Bailey comes in and sees Grace with her thumb in her mouth and the blue blanket bundled in her arms like an adored stuffed animal.

“Grace has this obsession with that blue blanket,” she informs us.

Chocolate

I have been craving chocolate.

Being a new mother, sleep has been more precious to me than eating or using the bathroom, and I’ll delay these necessary activities for after I’ve slept.

But yesterday, chocolate won over sleep.

I was determined to finally enjoy some chocolate! The enthusiasm with which I relished it…

…resulted in cutting my lip.

After waiting, and waiting, and waiting…

finally having the chance!

…and then it was ruined.

Now what? I brooded. Maybe I could just melt it in my mouth. The canker sore made me think twice.

Guess I’m waiting for my lip to heal.

Innocent Inquiries

Agapanthus

I get quite a few questions about our relationship once people get the courage to ask. I like questions. Who doesn’t want to talk about something they love? Feel free to post any unanswered questions you have in the comments or any that you would like elaborated upon, and I will likely answer them here or include them in the next Innocent Inquiries post.

How does it work?

This is the most frequently asked question, however it is so vague it takes the appearance of being many questions in one.

  • How it works financially: three of us go out to work, two of us have 2+ jobs. The fourth one (Alice) stays home with the kids, homeschooling them, which saves on daycare. This is like having another income. We share a bank account, and because there are so many names Bailey’s is often hidden, which makes for some complications with the bank sometimes. For example, if we order checks, we have to make some serious editing for her name to show up. We each have bank cards, but we have to check with each other if we’re spending more than five dollars so we don’t accidentally overdraft because of lack of communication.
  • How it works with the kids: we’re all on equal footing. Daddy has the ultimate say, but there’s few of those, and any of the Ladies can contest it. Otherwise, the ladies see more of the kids and have to communicate effectively with each other so that the kids don’t get conflicting instructions. The kids will also take advantage of having multiple parents with the classic “Daddy said no so I’m going to ask mommy.” Inconveniently they have 3 chances of it working.
  • How date night works: we have a schedule, sort of. Our lives are too demanding to schedule events on a calendar that’s already full of doctors’ appointments, court hearings, and court appointed meet-ups to pick up the kids that are under temporary conservatorship of their grandparents. So by opportunity Ed will take each of us out in order. For some reason it’s harder to take me out so I’ve been skipped a few times, but I’m also better at getting over it and Ed makes up for it in other ways. The Ladies that do stay behind have a house date once the kids are in bed, watching a chick flick or sharing a bath, complete with chocolates and wine. When we can afford a babysitter and all of us are free, we all go out together. We have matching shirts that all light up to sound, but we have yet to have the chance to wear them. However, we did take advantage of our tax returns last week and went to the best restaurant in town. We don’t have the time to take a much earned vacation, so we figured we deserved a few hours and a nice meal. We’d also like to have the ability for the Ladies to each take the other out (I have some date ideas for each of them), but again we would have to wait to have the opportunity.
  • Sex works basically the same way that dates work, for those of you who are curious (which I know is everyone reading this, you pervs).

Don’t you get jealous?

This is the second most asked question, usually by women or particularly skeptical men. The answer is no. We each feel so confident in our place in the family that we don’t feel that our positions are in jeopardy, which feeds insecurity. Edward also knows how to fulfill each of us in our unique ways. Alice likes structure and to communicate, and loves to be validated with words. Bailey feels fulfilled with physical affection, which ranges from cuddling to play fighting. I’m stimulated most mentally, and liken myself to John Watson and Ed to Sherlock. We’re very much like best friends, and sometimes (like last night over dinner) we marvel that we can feel like friends and still be comfortable having sex.

How does one join the relationship?

This isn’t like a social club, so I’m not sure why this question gets asked, but people are curious and I respect that, so I will answer honestly. In a relationship that doesn’t have the usual limits, one wonders ‘what is the limit?’ We’ve actually wondered about this ourselves. Alice loves women. She’s very picky, but she also believes in the more the merrier. Bailey switches between the mindset of, “I can’t adjust to having another woman” to “Well if she was like this and this and like this…” I can imagine being happy with another addition, and being in the position where I’m not the new one in the relationship, though I’d rather keep my ‘title’ of being the youngest. Edward is most intimidated with the prospect, since he would have to learn how to please yet another woman while making sure that no one feels neglected. He also feels the need to point out, “I am not looking for another woman!” If we considered adding someone to the relationship, it must be an unanimous vote. And it’s not going to be a male. I feel the need to point this out, because it has been asked. Some people assume that our husband is collecting women to spread his seed (actually these are my mother’s words), but the truth is that it is a shared preference. Again I want to emphasize that we consider ourselves evenly yoked, including in this matter. In regards to including another male in the relationship, I’ve actually had a manager volunteer, asking if there was ‘room for one more’. I was too shocked to say more than “Yuck, ewe, no.”

We are not a Cult

We consider ourselves to be evenly yoked. This means that we have equal footing, as well as the same vision and close to the same idea about how to get there. We may look at it from different directions, but we work together to meet our goals.

We are not a cult.

Our country is in this beautiful place of change. I know that same-sex marriage will be legalized and I don’t doubt that it will be this year. In my world, homosexuality is as normal as socks. I was blind to the persecution that gays (and lesbians) endured until I myself became an outcast. I usually considered myself as sort of a loner, but that was because I didn’t relate and would rather be myself than be included.

I thought that would be acceptable.

I thought that I was acceptable.

After all, this is America, land of the free! And yet, “I am a foreigner to my own family, a stranger to my own mother’s children” (Psalm 69:8).

I shared a post on my Facebook that I felt explained my relatively unique perspective of Christianity rather accurately, and thought, “For those who think they know me, they might understand me better if they read this.” It’s about ‘tearing down religion’ to build it back up, and explains how skeptics like Wiccans, Pagans, or Atheists can become some of the most faithful of Christians by unsuccessfully searching for flaws in it. My mother’s response to it? She posted this.

I don’t know if my mother has ever insulted me more than she did then. Maybe it’s because she hasn’t told me how she really feels to my face, hunkering in the shadows and forever fiddling with her tiny gold assumption. When I come across people I know through my mother, it’s very awkward. They ask me how it’s going and what I’ve been up to. I don’t know how to answer. Do I refer to my lovers as my spouses or my ‘roommates’? Has my mother gotten to them yet? Did she tell them I was brainwashed or that I made a stupid choice or did she call it a phase? I don’t even know what phases are like. Having been in this relationship going on 3 years I don’t have something to say about how I’m doing that doesn’t pertain to my family.

I’m tired of wondering what people think of me, people who think they know me. I’m tired of my mother slandering my and my husband’s and wives’ reputations. Yes, my wives’ as well, because that is what she does when she victimizes us. She should know I’m not weak, especially not my mind, and I am offended by how little my mother actually knows me. I wonder whether it may be time to come out publicly, beat my mom to telling those who don’t yet know about my relationship and possibly protect my reputation from being further soiled. I have some good friends that I’ve probably lost, but I can’t be sure because everyone’s too cowardly to come to my face about it. I love my good friend L for her support. She was skeptical when I first told her about it, and not openly so, and I love and respect her for it. She waited to meet my husband before cementing her opinions about him, making sure that I was safe and well treated. She hosted my baby shower and invited Edward, Alice, and Bailey, and watched how we interacted. She told me later how impressed she was about our relationship, how obvious it was how much Ed loved each of us, and how cute it was that we each had a relationship that was individual of the other and yet synchronous.

My mother was so wary of my husband’s intentions that she confided in my ‘adopted father’, who recommend that she tell my father (whom I will now call Anakin), because ‘after all, he is her father’. Between the three days of my mailing him a customized birthday card and his birthday, he showed up at my house and tried to force his way in. Ed said he looked like he was on crack. I don’t doubt it. My father came back to the house two times more, demanding that he see me and that he see the bedroom. Ed threatened to kill him for trespassing, standing between him and the kids, who were terrified. The third time Anakin came to the house, Ed was sitting on the porch with his ax, waiting for the cops, and Anakin cussed him out and came to my work place. I intentionally never told Anakin where I lived. I believe that he’s a pedophile, and I wanted to protect our many children, and so was furious with my mother. Our texts were curt that day as we scheduled a rendezvous to talk.

Outside of Starbucks, she asked me if I was polygamous. Yes, I said (this was before we found out there was a better word for it). I was a little surprised she knew what the word meant. “Are you going to have children with him?” she asked. I was honest. She used the word disgusting. I’d like to point out that I knew her to be cool with homosexuality, as long as there is no PDA, which is as much as she would want of a heterosexual couple. She told me why she got my father involved, I told her why I never wanted him involved. I was under the impression at the time that she hadn’t actually listened. However she went home and asked my sister about it, and my sister told her that he had molested her. They then went to confront him, and in front of them and his wife, he confessed.

Edward had introduced me to Star Wars last year before Disney bought it, and I related to Luke Skywalker, dreaming of being something greater and teetering between the light and dark sides. I felt that I would be justified in ‘joining the dark side’ because of the pain my father had put me through. I saw my father as a villain. I also knew that for my sake I had to forgive him, and that there could be some good in him. That’s why I’m calling him Anakin. But it’s also to avoid calling him father.