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We are three adults living in a polyamorous triad family. The content here is intended for an adult audience. If you are not an adult, please leave now.


Parent -- Still

Thirty five years ago I was on the eve of the birth of my first child, my son, Rick. 

He was the child who seldom gave me much trouble -- sweet and compliant, careful and deliberate, steady and sure.  He grew from year to year, doing all the right things on exactly the right schedule, and while he could be stubborn, he was almost never difficult.  About the only real issue that I encountered, parenting this boy was the annual trip to purchase school clothes.  He and I did not appreciate the same things, and what he did not like he would have no part of.  After a time, I simply gave up and sent him shopping with his father.  He navigated the depths and shoals of adolescence with nary a bump, and he was careful to protect me from the few indiscretions of his youth.  I only ever had one call from the school authorities concerning him.  On that occasion, they had found him selling condoms (at a tidy profit) to his 6th grade buddies who were too embarrassed to go buy them for themselves.  I worked hard to sound appropriately appalled, but was frankly amused by his entrepreneurial vision. 

When he turned 16, he went to work delivering pizzas, and with very few exceptions, that was the work he did for many, many years. 

He set off to college, hoping to study forestry.  Sadly, in the spring of his freshman year, his college roommate and good friend took his own life.  My Rick found his friend, and it broke his heart.  He came home, went back to the pizza route -- and never went back to college. 

Now he is turning 35.  He works in a small family owned equipment rental business, and takes care of his own small family.  He is dependable, reliable, gentle, decent and good.  When I see him with his small son, I am just stunned by the simple beauty or this man who was my baby boy.  His modest life does not cause anyone to say, "WOW!" except for me.  I see a man who has made choices, who lives with integrity and kindness, who has found that having enough is enough for him -- and I am very proud of him.  He gives me great joy.

Sixteen months after Rick was born, his sister, Sarah, made her appearance.  She was, and is, about as different from her brother as anyone could have been.  Wild, impulsive, volatile -- Sarah is all of that and more.  She was a delightful and wickedly bright child, but keeping up with her antics left me perpetually exhausted. 

Adolescence with Sarah was pure hell.  A long, unending slog through the courts and mental health system, punctuated with periods of time when she was incarcerated or hospitalized -- Sarah, in spite of all I could do, swirled further and further into drug and alcohol addiction.  She was just 16 when she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl while she herself was serving a sentence in the juvenile correctional system. 

Sarah's path remains difficult.   Only a couple of days ago, I received a phone call to tell me that she has been arrested again and sent to prison -- most likely that is a parole violation that will land her in the correction system until sometime next year.  It is the sort of news that causes me to curl up in a ball and sob with a pain that lives deep in my belly while in my head I can only cry, "my baby, my baby!"  I know I cannot save her.  I know she must do that for herself.  Still, each time we cycle back through this, I hurt afresh. 

So.  Here I am, caught as I have been for most of my adult life, between my two very different children.  Loving them both as they are, with all the joys and sorrows that brings...



  1. What's that ancient Chinese curse / proverb? "May you live in interesting times"? I wonder if they have another curse about about living with interesting children *grin*.

    Thank you for this post. It's always an honor to learn more about you :)

  2. Ordalie4:54 AM

    I was absolutely aghast when I read what you had to endure because of Sarah!
    But it didn't really surprise me since I'm living some sort of private hell myself: my grand-daughter refused to accept her parents' divorce, blamed my daughter and has for 4 years making her life an absolute hell, trying to stab her when she could, bashing her about...
    My daughter is 44 and she says there's no way she can stop her 14-year-old daughter doing what she wants, being physically unable to resist!
    So, swann, I do understand perfectly!

  3. Sometimes it's those who have very troubled youths who eventually work the most good in the world. There's plenty of time for a U-turn, yet.

  4. Thank you, Malcolm. It helps me to hear that.


  5. Swan, my heart breaks for Sarah, and the choices she makes which bring her such difficult outcomes. And my heart breaks for you, as one mother to another, I know how much this hurts you.

    I agree with Malcolm though. Often, the brightest rainbows follow the darkest of storms.

    And I am not forgetting Rick, and his resilience and strength. Living a life of quiet dignity and love is a beautiful thing indeed.



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