Not “Another One”, but a Joy

Babies are blessings

It’s strange to think that (almost) no one knows what this feels like.

Edward considers me to be the most team oriented of us. And so the night that Bailey announced her pregnancy- as happy as I was for her- I felt panicked and unsure about our future as I considered how everyone would be affected. Two pregnant women. continue

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Equilibrium

The round world

Guinevere is a genius.

She is getting a head start on learning, and she is ahead of the world.

Guinevere is three months old.

She knows what equilibrium is, and that it keeps her upright.

The world does not know how to be upright.

The world does not understand what equilibrium is.

The world is round, and hot, and cold. It doesn’t know that it’s spinning

spinning

spinning

Out of control.

The world doesn’t know how to be upright.

But Guinevere does.

Baby Season in Bloom

Huge announcement!!!

We are the most blessed family alive. We were made for our time, where some beautiful things take place that shatter the chains of prejudice. Our life is that of love, and we always live according to the heart. And because babies.

The Ladies have each been given a ring. We’re all artistic, and Edward wants for our rings to be the best he can give and customized to the pieces of his heart we each fill. Until he can afford the rings he dreams for us, we have ‘temporaries’. Bailey’s is a round amber set in gold, mine a pair of flowers and leaves framed with a vine in silver. Alice had felt compelled to buy it at a yard sale years before she set eyes on me, and it is the only ring I’ve ever tried on that fit my ring finger. We suspect that it was made as a toe ring. The soldered joint on Bailey’s failed one day, and we couldn’t afford to repair it due to pouring our incomes into rescuing the girls from Alice’s parents’ custody.

I have mentioned earlier in my blog that I believed for a time that I did not want kids. After meeting Edward, I came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t mind having (one or two of) Edward’s kids, waaaaay in the future. Our plans are not God’s plans, as Guinevere reminded me.

I watched over my body as though examining the facets of a gem for about two weeks after expecting my cycle to start, before deciding to make a bold announcement when Edward offered for me to sample a cocktail he’d invented. I called Alice from the couch to the bedroom. Bailey was already perched at the far corner of the bed texting, and Edward was waiting for a Star Wars game to load on his computer. I dropped the bomb: “Guys, I’m pregnant!”

Alice did the cliché and supportive gasp, exclaiming, “Oh  my God!”, eyes filling with tears of joy. Edward’s jaw dropped and his eyebrows rearranged in his awkward state of shock, the computer blasted the theme song for Darth Vader, and Bailey angrily shot up and stormed out of the room, slamming the bedroom door, and then the bathroom door a second later. Alice tried to compensate for Bailey’s reaction by running over to give me a hug, squealing at the thrill of having another baby. Ed went after Bailey to console her, assuring me that it wasn’t that he wasn’t thrilled, just that Bailey really wanted a baby and felt hurt that I was having one before her. That’s not what she had told me last week, I thought as I recalled a conversation I’d had with her in the car, where she shared her relief of not having a child yet. She has a tendency of telling me and Ed different things. What she had told Ed was that not having a ring or a baby made her feel like the ‘woman on the side’ people accused her (and me) of being.

To help Bailey with her raging emotions when Ed was out of town on the business trip, I wanted to make for her another ‘temporary’, but Edward beat me to it when he presented her with a ‘permanent’. “You had a baby first, so she gets a ring first,” he explained. I never saw it as a competition and didn’t need for him to explain himself to me, but he’s very considerate of making sure that no one feels left out. Knowing that Bailey was going through a hard time, I made sure that I let her know that I supported her. I started on a pair of baby booties in her favorite color, since the ring idea was useless now.

One evening we were unwinding for bed, playing ‘ketchup’, as we call it when we catch up on what’s going on with us. Bailey examined the back of her hand, looking over the orange heart-shaped facet gem set in gold. I knew it made her feel more valued to have it. “I’m glad you got a ring,”

“Thanks. Now I just need a baby and it’ll be even.”

Her words stung me, as I wondered if she felt like I was competition, and not her wife. “It’s not about being even,” I retorted, trying not to let the pain show in my tone. Edward made his move to cheer her up as she buried her face into the pillow. I whispered my forgiveness under my breath.


Whatever I was working on at the time (did it have something to do with reading up on blogs in WordPress?) didn’t matter once the bedroom door was thrown open. Bailey stood in the open doorway. “I’m pregnant,” she announced, triumphant. I don’t understand that strong desire to have a child, but I love her, and I did everything I thought I should to let her know that I was happy for her with her.

There were many points during my pregnancy where the mood swings dipped into depression, and I wept was upset over feeling left out, controlled by restrictions placed on me by the pregnancy and the limits of my body, and progressively hating my physical condition more and more. Bailey once responded to my complaints, “If I were having a baby, I wouldn’t care about being fat.”

Now I think to myself, just you wait, Bailey. I’ll remind you.

The Jury in our Bedroom

Powerful waves of change

Edward has been reviewing our stance in anticipation of the jury trial. He declares our position, especially in response to our in-law’s attorney’s stance, in the middle of the small stretch of space in our bedroom, gesturing like lawyers do when they want to amplify their already loud accusations. He fumed, reminding me that what they have done to our family is highly unconstitutional, and the worst part is that the state let them do it. I know his anger is at ‘the system’, but I let him practice on me. Ed will, in the same breath that he declares that our opponents have no right to a jury trial because they never had a stance, threaten to sue the state if the past 14 months of living with the state’s unlawful decision to grant custody to Alice’s parents aren’t compensated for. He rehearsed his position, looking at me as though I sat among the jury, booming voice echoing through the house to everyone’s curiosity. He went into the living room, pacing to cool off, and I overheard him explain why he was shouting to the curious eavesdroppers. Meanwhile I spoke to the lump huddled under the blankets beside me. “Alice, someday, we’re going to be in the news.”

“That’s okay, I expected it. Just enjoying my days of obscurity while I can.”

After Edward made the announcement, Bailey responded to his declaration:
“Who wants to be on national TV?”

And was met with a chorus of,

“ME!”

One Week (Part Two)

Our in-laws have a habit of getting court dates scheduled during our visitation time with the Girls. We went to court to argue the date set for mediation. It was rainy then, so of course the only parking available would be on the roof of the parking garage. As we unbuckled Ed called back, “You don’t have your knife on you, right?”

“Already took it out,” I announced proudly.

Danielle, Edward’s personal assistant, said, “He was talking to me, he knows I always have a knife on me.”

“Actually, I accidentally brought mine in last time.”

“Maybe he was talking to the both of us.”

Bailey stormed ahead through the rain, determined to get under cover. Alice planned on hiding under cover until everyone made it to the elevator, and then she’d run. I hobbled under Danielle’s umbrella, as Edward prowled indifferently. I looked at the brown drops that rolled down the umbrella over my head. “Ugh, look at the run-off.”

“That’s oil,” Danielle explained. “I don’t question the cleanliness of anything that comes out of my Jeep.” We hurried to the courthouse, chatting about why we don’t have umbrellas as we dump our things on the conveyor belt at the security checkpoint. Our conversation was interrupted.

“WHO THE F*** HAS THIS BRIEFCASE?!”

I heard my husband answer, “That’s mine, why-” The other security guard dragged him to the side and scanned over him. I couldn’t see the first one behind the machine. “Oh, I didn’t know that was in there, you can throw that away!” Danielle bowed her head and mumbled something about peanut butter and jelly. I saw them lay his camping knife on the table and stretch a measuring tape over it. I had a flashback of Springbreak when I went camping with the family, and Edward proudly wore his knife on his belt, explaining to us how his knife fit the legal limit. Now they had him pressed against the wall and were handcuffing him, and he expressed his confusion. He explained that he had no idea it was in there, that he went on a two week camping trip and only used that knife to spread peanut butter and jelly, and that they could throw it away. I was getting confused now, but Danielle was being so calm about the situation I couldn’t help but remain light hearted and even chuckle, a little out of confidence and knowing my husband was good and innocent and everything would be fine and a little because of the irony of the situation itself. My in-laws are going to hear that he brought a knife to court, my father in-law will think it was meant for him, and we’re still going to win this case hands-down because their perspective is so screwed up. I wondered, though. My husband is so careful, how did his camping knife get in his briefcase? He would have left it in his backpack if he had forgotten to unpack. And he doesn’t lock his briefcase, either.

Alice had to defend herself in court. We each considered the benefits of her standing up to her father, who hid behind his attorney. He looked around at us and I met his eyes. Bailey and I were just ‘women on the side’ to him, and he gave us no further acknowledgement than that. I noticed that he greyed faster than the president, and his hair matched his suit now. “Who are all these people?” the judge gestured to us. There were a few simultaneous answers and a majority sounded like “his wives”, despite that we agreed not to use that term in court since we can’t legally all be married. The judge simply said, “Oh, okay.”

Danielle piped up defensively, “Oh no, I’m just his PA.”

I stared at Alice’s father, wondering what his face would look like if I told him, “They blame my @$$#0l3 father for me being in this relationship. What does that say about you?”

Since this judge was different from the one who set the date for the mediation, he didn’t want to change the appointment time. Alice’s father did a double fist in the air, and then put his hands together to praise God. I raised my eyebrow at him, and thought back to some verses I knew, like the one where God says not to delight when your enemies are down, or the Lord may see and turn his anger on you. I also meditated on the story of Daniel in the den of lions we read earlier today before going to court, and prayed that where they were taking my husband the Lord would shut the mouths of those lions. Immediately after court I came down with a sickness and announced that I needed a nap while we waited to hear where in the process Edward was and when and how we were getting him out.

I drifted in and out of consciousness until two in the morning. I was standing near the bedroom door when it opened and the second our eyes met our arms were wrapped around each other and my face was buried in the crook of his neck, taking in the smell of the jail that clung to his beard. Then he sat on the bed and we gathered around him like children waiting for a story, eyes full of melancholy longing. He told us the deplorable state of the jail, the attitudes of the wardens, the filthiness, his small ‘meal’ comprised of whatever scraps they had left over, and one of the prisoner’s oozing wound that received minimal treatment. Leave it to my husband to get arrested and decide he wants to be on the state assembly because of it. He planned on writing another letter to the congressman about how the criminals were treated. Meanwhile, he described the social structure behind bars. He introduced himself by his first name to the inmates. Then he caught on that only the gang leaders went by their first name, the others had dumb nicknames in English and Spanish. Within an hour the leader of the white supremacists approached him and invited him to join them for breakfast. “I’ll be out by breakfast,” he assured them, but agreed to take him up on his offer if he was still there. One of the inmates more or less offered to be his b!tc#. Apparently, wearing a fitted orange suit also means you’re a leader- the baggier, the lower in the hierarchy.

“No one can figure you out. You either came out of a rock band or you’re a cannibal.”

“What’s with your hair?” they asked him, pointing to his high bun he usually did with his hair when he got bored.

“I’m growing it out for kids with cancer.” He learned that guys in a biker gang will wear high buns to fit their hair in their helmet.

“You got any ink?”

“No.”

“Don’t want to be identified, huh?” If you don’t want to be identified, it’s because you’re an assassin, he discovered. Telling them he was in there for having an illegal weapon in a courthouse only fed into his reputation as an assassin-biker-gang-leader-cannibal/rocker.

Eventually Gary came clean and said that he saw the camping knife out where his sisters could reach it, and for safe keeping put it in his father’s briefcase and locked it. All the same, Ed will be getting a hold of the congressman in regards to how inhumanely our prisoners are being treated. Now on top of everything we have another court case to keep track of, but I guess that keeps me from getting bored.

One Week (Part One)

I wasn't feeling too good

It’s been a heck of a week for the Smiths. Or a heck of a month. Now that I consider it, we’ve been rather occupied since our in-laws filed the lawsuit against us last year. But just this past week seems to be the most eventful. One of the Ladies quit her job, the other is pregnant, I went to the ER, and my husband got arrested.

Edward left for two weeks on a business trip across the east half of the country. It was difficult for all of us, but at least in the first week the Ladies buckled down and put the nose to the grind. I did little more than work, pray, clean, and sleep. When I am under emotional stress I like to keep myself too busy to remember how I’m feeling until I collapse in a heap on top of the sheets still in my clothes. Then the sadness overwhelms me, and I set a tear or two free before passing out. It wasn’t as easy for Bailey, and halfway through the second week she quit her job and took a Greyhound to meet up with Edward.

I’d had an infection or two that lasted since delivery. I thought I was still waiting for things to heal up, but when I described what I was feeling to Alice she explained that it was a UTI. On top of that some other things weren’t doing so well, but I wasn’t in pain so I thought it was still part of the healing process. Edward instructed me to go to the emergency room, which was weird to me since I wasn’t dying or anything. I was raised with the practice of not going to the doctors unless something was broken, and I’d never broken a bone. On the way to work Alice asked me, “Are you feeling nauseous?” This was at the end of the 2 week stretch of dealing with my husband being out of town and my wife coming home from work later and later and then taking a bus out of town by herself, and the stress knotted up my stomach.

“Yeah, a little bit.”

I felt like Odysseus’s dog at the end of the epic when my loved ones returned home and I let the burden I carried die in relief. Even with relief from the stress, the next day my stomach still felt a little funny and I told Ed. “We’re taking you to the emergency room when you get off of work.” Okay, cool, I thought nonchalantly. Again after work he was asked how I was feeling. I thought maybe I hadn’t packed enough for lunch, because I had the shakes. “We’re taking you to the emergency room,” he repeated. He said he was afraid I might have Sepsis, saying that the heat flashes I was having weren’t from hormones stabilizing, those were fevers, and the lethargy and other symptoms I was having also weren’t part of the healing process from having a baby. From getting picked up at work at seven at night to being discharged at three in the morning I sat in the ER, trying to find the most opportune times to sleep, thinking I would go back to work in a few hours and not even get the chance to lay my head on my pillow. One knit baby bootie, a shot (with a lot of fluid, the nurse emphasized), and four pills later, and I got a signature for a day off of work and felt like I had made a great accomplishment for the benefit of my family. I guess I’m not used to taking care of myself.

Birds of a Feather

Love blossoms

I strained to get a head start on my sleep with lights and chaos around me. This was nowhere near as bad as the times I worked overnight at a fast food chain. Knocking on our door interrupted my dreams, followed by Steve’s booming voice. “Can we come in?” I mentally examined my condition, belly down under the sheets and in PJs. I’m covered. Alice was curled on top of the bed in a robe, and Bailey was still fully dressed.

“Yeah, come in,” Ed called.

Steve and Daisy came in and announced that they’d just gotten back from a date at IHOP with another woman. “We’re polyamorous!” Daisy proclaimed as though announcing an engagement.

Steve interrupted her. “Not so fast, it was one date.” Edward agreed, saying it takes about 12 dates to know for sure, and two years to iron out the wrinkles. No, more like one and a half. Bailey said definitely two years. They met her on that cupid-dating site, and she was still in her scrubs. They showed us her pictures from her profile. Ed thinks he recognizes her. Leave it to my husband with his social prowess to know everybody. I saw her picture and realized I might know her too. Daisy was very high in spirits, describing how their new friend was surprised that there were so many other polyamorous people, having believed that she was the only one, and Daisy had bragged to her about the relationships that she had been in.

I had a flashback to being evaluated in the psychologist’s office as according to the court order. “Do you know others that have a relationship like yours?” she’d asked me. No, we were the only ones I knew. We hadn’t been inspired by anyone else’s example or anything, it just happened.

Now I see maybe we did inspire something.

Steve reminded Ed of how he’d sworn before that he was monogamous, having experimented with having sex with more than one woman at a time. “It’s completely different, though, when you really get to know each other.”

“Exactly!” Ed agreed. He swears he must have an emotional connection with someone to even consider sleeping with them. Because I’m the same way (I assumed everyone was) I never doubt his faithfulness. They continued on about sapiophilia and demiphilia and forniphilia and I tried halfheartedly to go back to sleep.

By the time their relationship gets serious I hope they’ve moved out.