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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.



As long as I have worked as a teacher, I have maintained that, before parents send children off to their very first day of school, they ought to make sure that the little ones have mastered "basic German Shepherd."  Which is to say that, by the time your youngster hits the classroom, they should have a clear understanding of those one-word commands that nearly any dog can grasp:  Come.  Sit.  No.  Go.  Stay.

It is that "Stay" that I seem to be contemplating these days.  Just stay.  Of all the things that I have done in the service of this relationship, and in service to this Man, it seems that, for now, the best I can do; the only thing that is wanted; the only thing left to offer is the act and choice of staying.  Here.  In this place.  Without demand and without expectation.  Keeping the long ago promise of always, and all ways.

Which all seems to bring me back to another dog metaphor.  There is a lyric, penned by a singer/songwriter that I met years ago at Glacier National Park in Montana.  Jack Gladstone wrote these lyrics to commemorate a herding dog named Old Shep (lessons in loyalty, patience, and honor), and I love the story, but am particularly moved by that "how many nights, how many days..." question:

Not so long ago outside of Fort Benton
Was a tale born of a faithful friend
As the train pulled away from the station
With the body of an old shepherd man
Through his final years on these Montana plains
Over pasture and highland, through hard summer rains.

Old Shep, ran beside him
Tending the flocks, patrolling the range
Old Shep, slept beside him
Ever alert if the silence did change
A thousand sunrises were met
With Old Shep.

The fall came, the light grew dimmer
For the Shepherd man when he reached the town
And Old Shep could sense there would be a long journey
To a meadow space where peace is found.
Down in a bed in Fort Benton he lay
His spirit departed but his body stayed.

Old Shep, walked beside him
As they carried his casket up to the train
Old Shep, tried to climb on board
But they pushed him away to the station platform.
Here a separate trail was met
By Old Shep

How many nights, how many days
Would your partner wait for you?
How many seasons would you weather the storm
If your companion was long overdue?
For over six snows Old Shep waited
And through five springs, there was no return
He met each train that rolled into the station
His faith remained, his candle burned.
Then, on a cold, dark, winter day
Our hero rejoined his best friend.

Now, Old Shep is beside him
Tending the heavens, patrolling the range
Old Shep stays beside him
As the seasons revolve this Big Sky of change
A faithful friend we won’t forget

Old Shep, runs beside him
Tending the heavens, patrolling the range
Old Shep, sleeps beside him
As the seasons revolve this Big Sky of change

A friend we won’t forget
Old Shep
   Old Shep

I'm not sure that I believe that anything will be better than it is this day.  Not in a day or a week or a month or a year.  I am not sure that we will ever do anything more than live quietly together until we reach the end someday.  I have good memories.  I got to live the life I dreamed of for awhile.  I took a chance on this, and I do not regret that.  I've explored the possibilities of not staying.  I know I could go off and find a place, some little studio somewhere, and live on my own.  A quiet life that would be...  But the promise?  I made that promise.  





A couple of posts ago, I posited the possibility of creating and participating in some sort of "email correspondence circle."  It was, at the point where I wrote those words, a sort of throw away, half-formed notion, and I really didn't give it much thought...  But several people have written me privately to express interest in and a willingness to participate in that sort of conversation -- more private, and perhaps, more intimate.

I suppose that we might exchange email addresses, and then begin to write in a "reply to all," group exercise.  I am not sure what sorts of letters we might dispatch to one another, but I think it is an intriguing idea.

I know that I am not willing to get into this with just anyone, and I'd really prefer to have some sort of connection with the people who might join in such an endeavor.  If you are interested, and we've shared some interaction over the years, and you have been on the kind side of the exchange here...  drop me a line.  I'd be willing to see if I can get this going.  Be aware that, in order for this to work, you have to be willing to have your email address shared with the circle.

Shall we "talk?"



October Birthdays

In my family of origin, that was the phrase we always used, "The October birthdays."  The October birthdays were a beginning point for what, in that long ago era, was known as the holiday season.  It was a slower and simpler time, and in those days, the Christmas shopping madness did not begin until after Halloween.  So, the holiday season, began for us with The October birthdays, and then proceeded through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, The New Year, Mother's birthday, and finally, in February, my birthday.  In my memory, that time of the year was always fraught with a wash of conflicts, and emotions.  It was never a settled time; never easy to navigate.

Next week, on Thursday and Friday, I will mark the passage of The October birthdays...

The 17th of October would have been my Dad's 92nd birthday.  He has been gone twenty-one years now; taken at the age of 71 by the ravages of rheumatoid arthritis.  He was a quiet man; a veteran of the second World War.  Although both of my parents were drinkers, my father tended to be the voice of reason, holding my mother's rages in check.  He seldom raised his voice, but when he took that deep, quiet, serious tone, people listened.  He was my champion and my hero and the deep connection of my childhood.  I spent many happy hours standing on a stool next to him, as he tinkered under the hood of the car.  Although I had three younger brothers, I was the one who went with my Dad to the baseball games he loved.  With him, I learned to rejoice in the double play and the throw down to pick off a runner trying to steal second.

The day after Dad's birthday, October 18th, was my brother, Gregg's birthday.  He was the middle one of my three younger brothers, five years my junior.  He and I were, in temperament and appearance, like twins.  Except for the years that separated us, we were mirror images of one another; the only two in our family who saw the world in the same ways.  Gregg, who, because he was a colicky baby with a very healthy set of lungs, was dubbed "Moose" by my Dad, was always a bit of a loner.  He was a child who thought his own thoughts and went his own way.  He was the little tag-along behind the oldest of the boys, Hank, and I.  We were forever getting him into one fix or another, and because he was younger and more gullible, it most often ended up with him being injured in some way.  We would take him sledding on "the big kids hill," even though he really wasn't old enough.  All of us knew to bail out before we hit the bottom, because there was a ditch at the end of the run.  None of us thought to tell Gregg about that little detail before we launched him down the hill for the first time.  Our frantic shoutings from the top of the steep slope were useless, and he rode that sled right off the edge and stuck it, like an arrow, in the dirt wall on the other side of the ditch.  He was a mess when we dragged him home.  It was always like that.  The great wonder is that he survived being our little brother.  Gregg was always an odd child, and he grew into an interesting and awkward teenager.  Theater was his passion... and music.  He was a natural born showman.  His attempts at traditional dating, the boy meets girl thing, were just awful.  He was terrible at it.  When he finally "came out," at the age of 19, it was an absolute "Duh" moment for most of us.  My parents, sadly, were appalled, and never, ever came to terms with the truth of who he was.  That rift was painful in the extreme.  For a number of years, Gregg and I worked as a team, speaking and presenting to church groups and others who were confronting the issues of accepting and loving a family member who was gay.  We were a good pair, and we loved doing it together.  I don't know what difference we made for others, but I know it was a time when he and I were intensely bonded to each other -- a bond that I will forever treasure.  When Gregg died of the complications of AIDS, 22 years ago, he was just 31 years old.  It was the anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy.  I believe to this day, that he chose that date.  When I arrived at the hospital that morning, he was sitting up in bed, paging with his sardonic wit, through what he always referred to as the "Needless Markup" (Nieman Marcus) catalog.  He was quite tickled by the 24-carat gold, jewel encrusted, Hummer.  That was morning, by evening, he was clearly dying, unresponsive, pale and wasted, just a shadow lingering in the room.  And yet, he would not let go...  Finally, at about 10 PM, I went out to the nurses' station, and begged them to let me bring his beloved dog up to the hospital so he could "say goodbye."  They reluctantly agreed that we could bring her up the stairs.  I called my husband, at home with our two adolescents, and he went over to Gregg's house and got Teela, the golden retriever.  He brought her up the six flights, and we walked her down the dimly lit hallway to Gregg's room.  The dog crawled into Gregg's bed, laid her head on his chest with a whimper.  He put his hand up to pet her head, and was gone.  Just like that...  It has been 22 years and I still see him every now and then -- in the face of a stranger; peering out from an intense and beautiful face.  How I miss him...

So, Thursday and Friday will be days of intense remembering.  Longing.  Missing those parts of myself.


Beginning to Write for Me

It must be obvious by now, that I have struggled to figure out how to write here in the last few years.  
In the beginning, I blogged to make connections with others who lived like I do.  In the beginning, I blogged to help myself sort through my uncertainties, doubts, and struggles.  In the beginning, I blogged so that I could define for myself what it was I was trying to do and be.  In the beginning, I blogged because He commanded it.
I am not driven by those motivations anymore, and still, I find that I need to write here.  I have become attached to this place, and the challenges of writing now, cause me to feel as if I have lost something that was and is important to me.  I don't have any reason to write here anymore, except that I want to.  I considered creating another blog that would be more private, but it just doesn't feel right.  I have also imagined that maybe I could engage with some "friends" in a sort of email correspondence circle, but that feels awkward, and I'm not clear that friends wouldn't find it invasive and exhausting.
So, it is time to redefine this place for myself.  All my writing here has carried within it my intention to write as honestly and openly as I could.  Even when things were painful, scary, and embarrassing, I worked to put the truth out here as best as I could.  I cannot and will not do that anymore.  Things here will be filtered.  It is a necessity.  I have no desire to hurt my loves with what I write here, nor am I willing to do anything that would hinder the healing process for our family.  It is, sadly, a fact that some will respond with judgement and insults when confronted with our more difficult realities and struggles.  I've never understood that behavior, and I've also never figured out how to dissuade those people from indulging their mean streaks.  No.  That sort of writing is no longer an option for me.  
It has also been true that I've always felt that I could count on a degree of anonymity here.  I'm not naive, and I do know that anyone who wants to put just a modest bit of effort into it can, pretty easily, figure out who and where I am.  Still, I figured that my BDSM world and my outside world were pretty much parallel, with no likely points of intersection.  A scare at the beginning of the school year, gave me pause.  Too, there are things that I no longer share here because there is a direct conduit to my adult children because their other parent doesn't seem to operate by the same ideals as I do in that realm.  I try very hard to allow my son and daughter to have their relationships with their father without any interference or influence from me.  I guess that is MY ethical stance, and not his.  Oh well.  It does limit what I will say here however.  
I need and want to write here again; to find my voice here again.
I choose not to expose my loves to the mean, nasty, and judgmental types anymore.
I cannot count on my former spouse to maintain any sort of reasonable boundaries with my adult children.
I've resisted shifting the subject matter here, but it is time to do that.  I am tired of looking backwards and bemoaning the things that cannot be anymore.  I want to focus forward on what is now and what can be.  I am closer to 60 than I am to 50, and the life ahead of me isn't going to be about being fresh and young and full of possibilities.  This is the other part of the story; about aging and decline and, hopefully, about some sort of earned wisdom, and maybe just a bit of grace finally.  I'll be writing more generally, more politically, more spiritually.  I'll be talking more about the books I read and the projects I'm working on.  I'll write more about my hopes and dreams and fantasies.  I may even take liberties with my own artificial rules about this place and post meal plans and recipes, and other sort of domestic stuff.  I have no idea what that will all come to look like or sound like, but I am ready to try just the same.