Ten O’Clock is My New Bedtime

Lion or Ram?

Lion or Ram?

I am a lion, born under the sign of Leo. Not only am I a lion, but I am also a fire dragon, if you consult my Chinese astrological sign. However, at this particular moment, there is a three-and-a-half year old ram singing away in the bathtub who might be my most cunning adversary yet.

Tonight my girlfriend is playing baseball, and my boyfriend (yep, I do love saying that) is off in the United States of America with the six year old member of the tribe seeing to a spontaneous family affair. I am left alone with one who I have affectionately referred to time and again as Monkey.

For the most part, suddenly finding myself in the midst of an instant-family has been an incredibly smooth transition for me. I mean sure, I still have moments when I’m nostalgic for hours alone at my Fortress, sipping wine, and trying to ease the ache inside my heart with words. Words for you, words for me, just words. I miss solo strolls along Roncesvalles, choosing groceries for the one and only meal I would cook, just for me. Sniffing nectarines, selecting shiny apples, treating myself to a beautiful bouquet of flowers for my table. This was romantic, in its own right, but my partners have a very healthy sense of the importance of grown up time, so now life is a lovely balance of the domestic and well, that other stuff.

Monkey keeps summoning me to tub-side…

Apparently Monkey is now Kelpie the Mermaid, and would like to henceforth be addressed as such. I can’t stop calling her “buddy” and she completely hates it. I’m unaware in fact of how frequently I use this handle until she’s scowling and grunting at me “That’s not my name!”.

The girls have generally been very accepting of my presence here. They know I have my own home to go to (which I’ve seen very little of lately), but that I spend a lot of time with them, sometimes (and those are the best times) with Arthur in tow. Arthur is delighted with his new pack, and so patient and gentle with the girls. I can’t help but feel that Monkey/Kelpie is challenging me to see where I fit in. Although her ferocious moments aren’t just reserved for me.

I’m told that the terrible twos often bleed into a much worse reality called Three. I’ve started consulting the Internet for parenting advice, since my learning curve is steep. Don’t get me wrong, Monkey is generally beyond adorable – clever, saucy, so funny, and super smart, but lately things have been challenging. She’s bursting at the seams sometimes, I think. Requests are demands, objections are shrieks, grunts, sometimes outright hollers. Last night, while left to deal with dinner supervision, I witnessed her coat both her arms in sour cream, gripping the table with her bare toes while staring me down defiantly. It was about the tenth time she barked “NO” at me that I decided it was time to walk Arthur, and I left her in the more than capable hands of daddy. I don’t ever want to raise my voice, and I felt like I was at my limit.

She pushes as far as she can, and then repents with bitter tears and a string of “sorry! sorry! sorry!”. In those moments we hold her and tell her we love her, and try to patiently explain that we are a pack, and that we must all compromise and be considerate and respectful of the other pack members.

I feel deeply challenged. She is Alpha, like me. She is flexing her muscles for the first time, and the way we negotiate this, she and I, will set the tone for the rest of our existence together. I think it must be one thing to grow with a child since baby-hood, but this is unbelievably intimidating sometimes. I don’t let on about this. Not to her, not to anyone really. I’m afraid she won’t take me seriously, so I remain patient but firm. I walk away from tantrums, I encourage quiet moments, and creative ways for her to take on responsibility and express herself to the rest of us. I stare her down calmly when she’s smearing herself with condiments.

At bedtime tonight (which happened before 9pm, I am proud to state) she insisted I stay and snuggle for a bit, which I was delighted to do. I tried to calm her by singing to her, and this actually worked. Her current favourites are Somewhere Over the Rainbow, which apparently she heard from me first, and Riverwide which she couldn’t possibly realize is actually a Sheryl Crow tune. Singing in soft, dulcet tones with her little fresh-from-the-bath smelling sweet self curled up beside me, tucked under my chin was the kind of heaven I’ve only dreamed of up until now. Soon she was sleeping, and after several moments, I untangled myself and stepped carefully from the room. This resulted in her waking almost immediately and shrieking indecipherable things at me. I attempted to calm her, but when the air-kicking started, I backed slowly out of the room with a “Goodnight Monkey. I love you, but I’m not going to listen to this.”

As it turns out, I’m in love with four people. One of them really likes to arm wrestle, and victory tastes sweet for both of us. She’s fast asleep now, and in the morning, she will cry out my name when I emerge from the bathroom and join her at the breakfast table, as if she is surprised and delighted to always find me there, despite knowing each night that I haven’t gone back to my own house.

And so tonight, the lion is victorious, and with my sleepy tawny head propped up by a pile of pillows, reclining on the sofa, I’m trolling the internet for the lyrics to my favourite songs from when I was a kidlet. I’m keeping Puff The Magic Dragon in my back pocket for emergencies only.

Stay tuned for stories of Barcelona…and hopefully photos!


On Love, On Life, and On the Two F´s

It´s 3:00 pm in Barcelona, and we are just now leaving the hotel. We’ve learned that his city doesn’t like to go to bed, and after being invited to stay after hours at the little bar across the street, we finally called it a day at 4:45 am.

Now, I´m waiting for the tribe to get ready, and I’m hiding in the sexy basement of our sexy hotel stealing some moments to leave a little imprint here. There’s so much more to come, but I don’t want to miss a minute of this city, so I will write more later from the mental notes I’ve been collecting.

I will tell you this, however…

I think I love this city even more than I loved Paris. Perhaps it is because here, on this trip, I’m surrounded by so much love. Or because the pace is so easy and casual, and people are literally strolling through the streets. Perhaps it’s because I am happier than I’ve ever felt in my entire life, or because I feel so strong and assured. Perhaps it’s the food, the RIDICULOUS generosity with which every bartender pours, the swarthy he and she pirates that inhabit this place, everywhere you turn. Perhaps it’s the undulating curves of the architecture, the fine, delicate iron work of the Julietta balconies, the graceful tumble of flowers from wrought iron framework, spreading across old stone like tentative fingers across a lover’s chest…

There is poetry everywhere here, and I am instantly comfortable and at home.

Spanish sounds like music, music sounds like magic, and the three of us want to return and set up shop with our little ones some day. We are in love with each other, we are in love with Barcelona, and Barcelona seems to love us in return.

While Paris was the perfect boyfriend, Barcelona is the crone-like, witchy Grandmaman who still wears red lipstick and has a mischievous twinkle in her eye because she’s seen and done it all. She hugs us close to her Sandalwood perfumed breasts and our history is mirrored in the musky, familiar scent, and the warmth of her unconditional understanding and approval. She knows that all we have in this life is love and every breath we take means one more chance to celebrate our love, and make vivid our own stories.

Yesterday, after lunch and shopping, we strolled through the streets on the way back to the hotel, and ahead of us was a family, not much older than we are. On the outside – a little boy of about four, then a lovely woman who held his hand, on her other hand a girl of perhaps two, attached to her a handsome man who looked just like her, and on his other arm another beautiful woman ripe with child. I saw them and my breath caught. I realized with intuitive certainty that I’m not the last unicorn. There are others like us, who live like us and love like us, and raise beautiful families like us. With one quiet glance and a slow-spreading smile exchanged between the lot of us, we shared recognition and understanding, and the power and beauty of that brief meeting was more beautiful than I can effectively describe. It was perfect, and we all felt its power.

Yesterday I held a tiny pair of baby shoes in my hand, placed there adoringly by the man who will some day father my children. On my arm was the woman who will help me raise these children, and who will be my guide through the experience of pregnancy and childbirth. A warm, delicious knot took hold of my throat and made it impossible for me to speak.

There aren’t many who can look upon their lives and realize they have everything they could ever wish for, and then some extra for dipping. Each morning (or afternoon) when I wake, I whisper a silent prayer of gratitude that I am one of them.

Gracias, gracias, gracias…

Actually, It’s Pronounced “th”.


Ok, if you weren’t already peuce with jealousy…

Tomorrow I’m getting on a plane mid-day, falling asleep, and then more or less waking up in Barcelona. Once in Barcelona, my partners and I will check into a very sexy boutique hotel, unleash ourselves on the city over the weekend, then on Monday night we will see Leonard Cohen perform on his 75th birthday. Hours later we will turn around and come back home.

I. Shit. You. Not.

So, dear readers, let this be a lesson to you:

If you are not happy with your life, if you feel like something is missing, and that there’s a whole hell of a lot out there that you could be experiencing, take the effing bull by the horns and make some big fat scary changes. What is that stupid movie line…”If you build it, they will cum”…or something to that effect? As far as I’m concerned, I’m living proof that acting in your own best interest, and listening to your gut will be heavily rewarded. Barcelona aside, my life is the kind of toasted marshmallow stuff that dreams are made of.

So, for those of you who might be wondering if my recent choices and declarations have changed me, the answer is “Yes, they have.”

I feel like I fell in love with me, and as a result could love even bigger and better than ever before. This big, throbbing heart of mine has been an issue in the past. At first, everyone’s eyes light up at the mere mention of it, and they can’t wait to get their hands on it. Then, after the first few earnest strokes, they get freaked out, and overwhelmed, and suddenly it’s too much to take on. Not anymore. Now everything is fitting together perfectly. I’m living my Trojan Magnum years, kids. The whole world is opening up before me. I can’t wait for it to swallow me whole.

Ok, enough of that.

What I’m really trying to say is

“Barthelona, here we come!”

The Tribal Council


Nearly twice a week the adult members of my tribe, usually at that quiet time once the kids are finally asleep, sit down sleepily with a nightcap in hand and our latest Genius list to amuse and delight our ears. Inevitably, especially after a series of really good days, a collection of horizontal lines creases up my forehead like a tiny, fleshy accordion.

That’s when the male member of my tribe will gently trace a finger over my brow and softly ask “what’s on your mind”? And I will sigh heartily, and muse silently about whether or not to have the same conversation we’ve had about 1000 times already. Then, because I believe communication will be paramount to this relationship, I launch into my familiar litany:

Will I have to remain a secret forever?
How and when do we tell the girls?
When can we stop pretending that I sleep on the couch?
How much do we care about what outsiders think, and how open can we be with our displays of affection when we’re all together?
How worried are you about other people thinking you are having an affair?
If we decide to have another child what/how do we tell the girls?
Will I ever be able to appear at family functions? Will my family accept you at ours?
What will we do when family members start trying to set me up with other people?

At this moment, I have a three and a half year old in my lap who is licking me like a puppy…

Both of my partners listen patiently. Then we talk through possible scenarios and what ifs. We usually laugh together, and get a bit pensive. I apologize for ONCE AGAIN having to talk about all the same things, but nobody is mad at me. My male partner tells me that only through talking about my fears are we all able to address our worry, and put it into context, and take away some of its power. My female partner usually sits silently listening, but will then look up at me and the calm, quiet of her gaze says all of the words that I need to hear.

In this relationship, more than any other in my life, I am positive that I will realize everything I’ve ever dreamed of. Though we three are all very different, we have the exact same approach to life, and we all want the same kind of experience of the world. We love the same things, from music to food, we’re committed to seeing as much of the world that we can, we realize that beyond family and close friends there isn’t much else that’s truly important. When you take the lid off and look inside, it’s a really ideal diorama. However, the problem with lifting off the lid is that the rest of the world can squeak in. Some of the rest of the world isn’t so thrilled for us.

Something that I read last night stated that what we are doing is challenging thousands of years of the tradition of marriage. I think this was worded more like “flipping the bird at” but I really couldn’t disagree more. In my own Schnooie head, we are kicking it WAAAY old school. Like pre-Christian old school when tribes came together and lovingly raised children collectively. People in those days didn’t claim ownership of children. They were gifts from the gods, and a very serious responsibility for everyone. Am I naive to think that this model has a place in our modern age?

I have a lawyer friend who specializes in family law who is near drooling whenever I talk about my relationship. She says proudly that we are setting a new precedent. After years and years of helping heterosexual couples weed through messy divorces and child custody battles, she believes that we are brave and enlightened.

Last week my partners hosted a dinner party for some of my oldest, closest friends. He cooked a truly elaborate and spectacular Thai feast and she assisted, and turned the house into a lovely, tidy little haven. The girls were at their most charming, and everyone was cast in warm light, smiling and laughing together like old friends. I can’t remember the last time I was so happy.

One of my girlfriends, who has borne witness to my last two big relationships, told me last night that she has never seen me so still, so calm, and so committed. Not even to the man who I went on to marry. She doesn’t comment often on my relationships. She usually is a great ear, but will only give her opinion if pressed. Last night she offered this freely.

I think of my gay friends who have had to deal with outside scrutiny for their whole lives. Who move forward with life and love despite the popular opinion that their existence is ‘strange’ or ‘abnormal’. From the time I was very wee, I realized that I wasn’t like the other kids, and only now, at 33 am I beginning to understand exactly what that means. My new realizations, my new choices don’t change who I am. I feel like this is the next essential layer on my path to self-realization. My life feels ‘normal’ now. The restlessness I’ve always fought with has dissipated. Perhaps it will come back, but for now I’m enjoying this great sense of peace, and this near-overwhelming sense of happiness and belonging. I suppose everything must come with a price, and negotiating the judgements and criticism of the outside world is nothing new to me.

On Sunday I planned and executed the six year old’s first official birthday party. It was a huge success, and I met many of the parents of her school mates, who all seemed like warm, lovely people. We offered no explanation about our relationship, and when two of the moms asked my female partner what our relation was, she said “Schnoo is a very, very dear friend.” The both smiled and shook their heads ruefully and said “Where can WE get a Schnoo?”

I like to think they’d be even more eager to acquire one of me if they knew how my love extends well beyond party planning.