Heaven holds a sense of wonder….











I write an awful lot about our relationship. I don’t write nearly as much about the kids. I think this is because, for the most part, I’m pretty secure in my role as Mom. The kids won’t up and leave me if I do something stupid, and, at this stage of the game, I’m pretty certain that I’m not going to screw them up too bad if I make a mistake. They’re little and little kids are experts at forgiving and forgetting.

This parenting thing in our house is kind of strange. I’m in some sort of awkward limbo between single mom and partnered-mom – I’m definitely partnered, but she’s only been living with us for a little over 6 months, and as far as the kids go, there are boundaries that are still being worked out.

Take discipline, for example. The kids love her and trust her unconditionally, and because of the nature of their relationship, she gets to be the fun one. She rarely gets mad at them, and when she does, they pay damn good attention. It’s nice because if I’m struggling with them and they’re tuning out Mom, all she has to do is say, “Hey, what did your mom say?” and it’s like magic. They can hear me again.

While it’s refreshing, because even while I was with their dad, I didn’t have this kind of support, it also sets up a potential good-cop/bad-cop dynamic that I would really like to steer clear of. So when it’s her boundaries that are being pushed, I’ve encouraged her to find ways to deal with it herself, to talk to the kids, rather than have me “handle” them. It’s been touchy at times. They’re my kids, I should be the one to enforce the rules, etc. At the same time, if we’re to be long-term partners, and if she wants to have her personal limits respected, they need to hear it from her at least some of the time that they’re pushing.

She is much more receptive to the idea when she’s not trying to sleep. (and usually, I go ahead and enforce her boundaries for her when she is trying to sleep – I mean, I’m not totally cold!)

The kids love her to pieces. They come home from their dad’s house, and the first thing they do when they see her – however cliche it may be – is throw themselves on her. She’s tackled and tickled and kissed and cuddled. And it all happens again at the end of every day, bedtime. And then at the beginning of the day, her bedtime. They can’t get enough of her.

This morning, my daughter, three, was distressed to found out WokkaWokka had gone to bed. (That’s the special name she came up for my Darling, henceforth abbreviated as W.W.) “I want someone else to make my breakfast! I want W.W.!! Not you!” Apparently she’s cooler than me, and she makes cereal better than me.

Sometimes she likes to play around with words. She’ll tell others, “We have kids,” rather than, “She has kids and I put up with the noise.” She’ll say things like, “Our kids are little shits sometimes, but I do love them,” which I almost always have to replay in my mind a couple of times to confirm the “our” presence in the statement. And she’ll never repeat herself. “You heard me. Shut up, leave me alone,” she mumbles with a sheepish grin.

She’s getting the hang of it. It’s not like there’s a lot of resources out there for people in her position though, which I find surprising. I’m trying to find some books – and I’ve got one title in mind that I haven’t read – that focus on lesbian step-parents. Because a lot of the step-parenting books out there are hetero-biased and subtle as it may be, it is hard to navigate around sometimes. And a lot of the lesbian parenting books out there focus so much on lesbians who were already coupled before the kids came along, rather than the other way around. And she could use some support, because it’s not always easy to be in her position.

And the kids… they love her, but they still can’t quite wrap their minds around who/what she is to us. My oldest, my son, knows she’s my “girlfriend”, and that we love each other a whole lot, like a lot of mommies and daddies love each other, which is cool but kind of strange because we can’t get married cuz only men and women can get married, right? Not too bad for a 5 year old. My daughter, she’s absolutely unabashed about sharing affection with her W.W., regardless of where we are or who’s around, which throws people off when she explains their relationship: “She’s my roommate.” Which stings Pickle a bit, because they’re so much more than roommates or friends, but, hey… the kid’s only three. She doesn’t have the language yet.

We’re lucky to live in a very progressive town with a same-sex registry. There’s another girl in my daughter’s class at preschool who has two moms. I don’t really worry about the kids getting bullied or treated badly for it – in fact, in a town like ours, it’s likely to be a popularity boost come junior high – “Wow, you have two moms? That’s rad!” Rebellion is encouraged around here, and having parents that are already breaking the mold, well that’s just bonus.

I’m sure there will be some jerk kids out there who will assume that because her moms are dykes, our daughter will be too.

And then there’s their dad – who’s a puzzle of his own. He identifies as a gender-queer cis-male. This may be a judgmental thing to say, it may not be socially correct, but it is based off of everything I know about him: I would not be surprised if he, in the next ten years, came out as transgendered and started living as a lesbian. He’s very zealous about trans issues, and I don’t think it’s just because it happens to be the current trend, the “cool thing to do” in the Radical Queer community right now.

And while it’s cool that he’s currently exploring his identity and I hope he is able to find happiness and comfort, I do worry about the natural bias of the outside world – even the LGBT community. It’s ok to be gay, and it’s ok to be lesbian. And once people start talking about trans issues, it seems like it’s ok to trans – as long as you’re female transitioning to male (FTM). But if it’s the other way around people start to get squirmy. I think it’s a reflection of society’s general underlying attitudes towards women – “Why would anyone want to be a woman?” It may sound extreme, and certainly, it’s not conscious thinking on the part of most, but it is worth examination, I think.

And my kids have two moms… maybe one day they’ll have three, or even four. I don’t think anyone around here would bully them for having two moms. I worry that, especially for my son, their father’s identity and presentation (he dresses in women’s clothing often) will create problems, and have my son branded a sissy.

But then again, he’s got two tough moms with a lot of fight in them…. and I’m learning – people are scared of pissing off lesbians!

Maybe that’s why people have always found me intimidating – they sensed my inner dyke…

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{November 8, 2009}   She’s like fingers and toes

I’m currently reading Mom’s House/Dad’s House by Isolina Ricci.  Within its pages is a quiz one can take to assess their personal resources for coping with the high stress associated with a divorce.  A score of 95 or above indicates adequate resources and successful coping.  I scored a 96.  I am just barely over the threshold.  I looked over my answers to see how I got the result, and realized that if it wasn’t for Pickle, I wouldn’t have even made it to the threshold.  She’s the one keeping me together .  She says I do the same for her, that I keep her sane, though I find that ironic because if she weren’t with me, she’d have a whole lot less stress in her life.  Most of her stress lies in dealing with my interactions with the kids’ father and being the primary money-maker in a family she really never expected to have, much less overnight. 

I have a certain amount of guilt that I need to let go of.  She chose to be with me, knowing that it wasn’t going to be easy, knowing that she was committing to my kids.  I didn’t twist her arm.  We have such a solid connection with one another and we balance each other out so perfectly.  She knows exactly how to push me, to motivate me to be the best mother, girlfriend, partner, person that I am.  It’s not just about potential waiting to be released, it’s about what’s already there that I am using and need to acknowledge and maximize.  She’s smart and she sees things so clearly the first time, and me, it takes a few opportunities for slow observation before I get it.  I really have to study things.  Both approaches have their advantages, and it’s why we work so well together.  It really showed earlier this week when we undertook a major house-cleaning project.  It takes me forever to clean the house because I’m extremely detail-oriented.  I can’t see the big picture until I’ve put all the details together.  So I tend to focus on one specific area to the detriment of the whole.  She, however, sees everything right out, and tackles all the obvious things first to create the sense of harmony she needs, and the details get worked out in the process.  Together we make a great team and, may I just say, the house looks and feels fantastic!  But when the balance is lost and the responsibility falls on only one of our shoulders, the other becomes resentful, and the house falls apart – physically and energetically.  The same is said for the way we communicate with one another and the way we support one another.  As long as we are about each other’s boundaries and practicing true give-and-take, we maintain harmony.  I’d say effortlessly, but it does take some effort.  It’s just much easier with her for me than with anyone else I’ve ever been with.  It’s quite refreshing.

In the case of my separation and my kids, she’s had to repeat herself a thousand times over, to the point where she’s exhausted herself trying to point out what she feels is the obvious: their dad took advantage of me, was less-than-adequate as a father when we were together, people who haven’t changed in the past aren’t going to change in the future, I need to do what’s best for the kids and quit sparing his feelings.  She’s right, on every single count.  And I’ve known it, but I really have to marinate in it, to understand the whys and hows of every angle, and that takes time.  And she’d like me to Fix It Now.  Obviously, it would be much easier on everyone if I could wave my magic wand and do just that, but this is the real world, and I must be practical.  So it takes a balance of her pushing and me stalling to get things done at the right pace.

I can’t even describe how amazing and inspirational she is to me.  How much I love her.  I haven’t lost myself in her, I’ve found myself.  I need her, but not in a survival sense – I know that if she were not in my life, I would be fine and I would pull through and be a good mother to my kids, and I would survive.  I need her in the sense that I need my fingers and toes.  They are part of me, they are useful to me, and if they were to be taken from me, I would be in a lot of pain for a very long time, and, though I would learn to adapt, I would be limited in my ability to do the things I used to do with those particular digits.  She’s not my backbone, she’s the one that pulls my shoulders up and reminds me that I already *have* a backbone.  She’s not my knight on a white horse, she’s the compatriot that finds me scavenging in the woods and guides me in how to take advantage of the resources available to me, and by the way, I know where you can find a horse if you need one.  She’s not just a lover, and the word “girlfriend” is so inadequate.  She is my life partner, in every sense of the word, and she just boggles my mind.  How did she come into my life when she did?  The timing couldn’t have been worse, and at the same time, it couldn’t have been better.  I guess that means it was perfect.

She was supposed to be off work at 5am tonight.  As soon as she went in, her boss cornered her with the “choice” of either running to the airport and coming back at 6 am, or staying on until 6 am.  At first, I was just livid because she stayed on late last night as a favor to a coworker; besides, if this were a daytime job, the expectation that she would be able to stay on an hour late wouldn’t even be there.  People have lives.  But really, it was more than just about her being taken advantage of by a boss who claims to be her friend.  It was also about me needing her comfort tonight.  I need to hold her in my arms.  I am so very sad today.  I’ve been in a state of slow realization just how little support I have to go through this divorce, and how little experience I can call upon from my circle of friends and acquaintances.  The support I do have is awesome, and I’m lucky to have that much – there are people out there who have less – but it’s unfair to Pickle, who needs support as much as I do.  She is my main source of support now.  Almost exclusively.  I have others I can call on once or twice a week/every few weeks, but they’ve got their own stuff to deal with.  And I have no idea where to go for help.  None.  I feel very lost and alone.  Except when Pickle’s around… she makes it all go away.  What an unfair burden to put on her, right?  Except, I guess, I do the same for her.



{November 7, 2009}   Introductory Post

I’ve decided to begin a sister blog to my original, with this one having the focus on what it means to be a lesbian and a mother.  I’ve been trying to find resources that are applicable to my situation, and there just don’t seem to be too many out there.  I’ve run across others looking for the same kinds of materials, and it’s a common frustration we share: we just can’t seem to find enough. 

My situation isn’t a unique one.  I was in a hetero marriage for over 9 years, and had two awesome and beautiful kids.  My husband and I split up, and several months later, I came out as a lesbian.  Not long after that, I fell in love with the most amazing woman, completely unexpectedly – I mean this was *not* in my plans at all, I was fully prepared to be a single mom for a while and take some time out from relationships.  But the Powers That Be (heretofore known as the PTB’s) had other designs in mind, and pulled our little puppet strings every way possible, so that two months into our relationship, we were living together and she was ready to commit to the kids.  We’ve now been together six months, and though it’s been really hard at times, there’s no end in sight. 

At any rate, my partner, whom I will refer to at present as Pickle (though I reserve the right to change that at any point in time), wants to be more of a parent to the kiddos, and they love the hell out of her and can’t get enough of her.  But there are boundary issues, and custody issues, and conflicts with their dad, and it’s been really hard on both of us, not to mention the kids. 

I just got a craving for nachos with jalapenos.  Oh yum.

And try as I might, I can’t find many resources for people in our situation: lesbians who fall in love with kids already in the picture.  I would love to hear from the voice of experience on the subject, and I hope to add my voice to the collective.  I want to put my thoughts out there in the hopes that they can help someone else muddle through their own complicated issues with divorce, parenting, sexual preference, and new relationships.If you’ve stumbled across my blog by chance or by intention, please feel free to friend me.  All entries here will be public, because I want my perspective to be shared.

As a side note: The title of this journal, and the name, is borrowed from the Delerium f/Sarah MacLachlan song “Silence”.  It is one of my all-time favorite songs, and my favorite of Sarah’s.  I also happen to love Delerium tremendously, and have other songs of theirs I like better, but that’s neither here nor there.  The point is, I wanted to point out that what I took from the song was an emphasis on living in the moment, not struggling against the waves that threaten to over come one in life, but sinking into them, thereby liberating oneself from fear.  I want to hold that sentiment true in this journal.  That is ultimately my goal.  To explore these issues, yes, but to do so from a perspective of letting go, and sinking into the waves, being free.

That said, I’m going to so sink into my pillows and catch a little sleep.

Blessings,
A.



et cetera