Demeter's House











{January 27, 2013}   With friends like these . . .

I was worried about what people would think. It seemed foolish, I know—a grown-ass woman caring about what people are saying about her. When I told my best friend the news and shared with her my worry about people’s judgments, she reassured me that of course no one would be thinking critically of me.

Nico and I decided awhile ago to get married—the story behind why someone with so many issues with the institution of marriage would want to marry again is a story for another time. We haven’t gotten to the ceremony yet because the whole to-do of a wedding isn’t important to us, but we’ve been wearing rings for over a year, we call each other husband and wife, he is a father to my children. Except for a piece of paper saying otherwise, we are married.

A couple of years ago, Nico started to express interest in having a baby. He’d never wanted to have children, so this was a discussion I never thought we’d be having. But falling in love with my boys changed him. I tend to be the thoughtful, contemplative person who doesn’t just jump in. So I considered. And went to specialists. I’ve got children with autism from my previous marriage, so of course that was a concern.

But the perinatologist went through all of our genetic history and found that we had a less than 1% chance of having a child with autism. And my younger son, whose autism is severe, had gone through a miracle transformation with a new treatment, so my fear that his autism would create a negative environment for a baby were pacified.

All my greatest fears managed, I told Nico that we could start trying.

Of course, the planner that I am, I had a timetable. The baby needed to be born during the summer so that I could still work during the academic year. We had a small window of just a few months. If we didn’t get pregnant then, we wouldn’t try anymore.

We got to the last month of the window and tried like crazy. I did a lot of peeing on ovulation test sticks. And then, at the end of the month, we had a faint positive sign . . . and then bleeding. Our one chance, and it didn’t work. So I got a prescription for birth control, ready to go back on at the start of my next cycle.

Except my cycle never started. Somehow after that failed pregnancy, I’d managed to get pregnant again without even trying.

Amazing.

But then came the people.

We wanted to make sure everything was okay before going public, but we did tell a couple of our close friends. When Nico told his best friend, the response was, “Demi’s trying to trap you into marriage with a pregnancy.” He said it to Nico in a joking way, I’m sure, but the fact that he said it at all made me wonder if that was how he truly felt. That, I guess, is when I started to worry about what people were thinking of us.

This week we went through some testing, and baby looked great! No signs of chromosomal abnormalities! With the good news and the pregnancy starting to show, we decided to go ahead and share the news with the world.

Many friends were supportive . . . others were not.

One friend sent me a message: “Even though you and Nico didn’t plan this, I know this baby can be a blessing to you both.” I spent a day feeling sick about it. This was a good friend of mine, a very liberal friend who I never imagined would be judgmentally assuming that if Nico and I got pregnant without being married that it must have been an unfortunate accident. We share many mutual friends who have chosen to have children while also choosing not to be married to their partners—why wouldn’t she understand this? Why would she judge this?

Another friend, a staunch Christian, didn’t say anything condescending, but instead just deleted me from his Facebook friends. I guess an unmarried mother is not the kind of person an evangelical wants to associate with.  

2013, and yet still this. I suppose there’s some lesson to take from this, something about now knowing who my real friends are or something, but right now I just feel sad that in the 21st century that women are still judged for their reproductive choices. 

 



{November 15, 2012}   Death

How do you mourn someone who has cast his family aside to serve a pedophile and murderer?

Nico’s father lies in his hospital bed, curled up, shaking, and unresponsive. His heart is failing, his kidneys are failing. He will unlikely finish the day.

He is, or was, a rocket scientist. Literally. Nico’s father was a brilliant man with no social skills, someone who could engineer the space shuttle but not maintain a relationship with his children. He lived on Diet Pepsi and nicotine. He had all the quirks I see in my autistic sons: rocking, ritualistic behaviors, sensory sensitivities, social deficits. His children and I are certain he is an undiagnosed Aspie.

Yet, for all his brilliance, the man was somehow gullible. It makes no sense at all to me, no matter how much I try to reason through it. This man with an outrageously high IQ got duped by a child molester. How on earth did it happen?

In 1984, when Nico and I were about 11, a girl just a few years younger than us disappeared on her way to the mailbox—she wanted to mail her aunt’s birthday card herself. After 20 minutes, her mother began searching. She found her daughter’s bike, but not her daughter. She never saw her daughter again.

The Vicky Lynn’s disappearance shaped our childhood. Every day on TV we heard about her abduction and the search for her. At school we were rounded up for assemblies to teach us about stranger danger. At home we were tethered to our parents who no longer dared allow us to leave their watchful eyes for even a moment.

A twenty-eight-year-old man was spotted on the young girl’s street that day, a man who was on probation for kidnapping and molestation in California. Two hours after the little girl went missing, several neighbors at his trailer park saw him in blood-covered clothing (he claimed it was because he’d stabbed a “double-crossing drug dealer”). He immediately fled the state.

The police found him in Texas. With paint marks from the little girl’s bike on his bumper. 

Somehow, I’m not sure how, Nico’s father got involved with the defense. In his day job he back-tracked evidence, coming in when something went wrong with an airplane or space shuttle and figuring out from the wreckage how the events unfolded. So that’s what he did here.

I don’t know if the idea that he was smart enough to disprove the police went to his head or what, but he became convinced that there was a conspiracy to convict an innocent man. After staring at pictures for thousands of hours, he was sure that the FBI somehow planted the paint on the bumper in Texas, that photos had been doctored, that the county sheriff’s department and the FBI and the justice department and the judicial branch all colluded because they needed a conviction in the case, even if they were convicting an innocent man.

Sitting bored at the trial, the defendant sketched a map to where he left the little girl’s body in the desert. Most of us doodle nonsense when we’re bored; he doodled memories of his horrific acts. His defense attorney held onto it and put it in the file. Nico’s dad saw the sketch through his work as a consultant.

A few months after the trial, a woman walking her dog in the desert stumbled upon the body in the same place the murderer had mapped at trial. There was yet another trial, this time for murder, and in 1987 the murdering douchebag was sentenced to death.

It was the same year Nico and I started high school. Nico and his family were a fixture in my high school life, but I always found it strange that his family’s house downgraded every year or so. When I first started hanging out with Nico, he lived in a Spanish-inspired house on a secluded acre. The house was sprawling, large enough for Nico’s father to have his own laboratory. A couple of years later, though, they moved to a modest house in a twenty-year-old cookie-cutter neighborhood. By our senior year, they were in an apartment.

What I didn’t know was that the housing decline was directly linked to the 1987 murder conviction. Nico’s dad was convinced that an innocent man had been sentenced to death, and he became obsessed with freeing him. He was going to write a book to expose the scheming between law enforcement and the justice department!

He left his job to do just that.

For the next twenty-five years, Nico’s dad would write for a couple of years, run out of money, pick up a contract for a year to get some money, quit to write for a couple of years. Twenty-five years and one bankruptcy dedicated to writing a book to “save” a horrific human being.

For the next twenty-five years, the child murder hung out in prison while his lawyers mounted appeal after appeal. He earned a college degree. He got married to a crazy nut who started off as a prison pen pal. He came to Jesus, finding faith through a Greek Orthodox priest. And then he wrote not one, but FIVE books about faith under a pen name. Yep, a child murder is a spiritual guru for the lost.

College, marriage . . . Vicky Lynn didn’t get to experience these things.

Move forward to 2011. Nico’s father has yet another heart attack, and the doctors didn’t think he’d make it. And yet, somehow, modern medicine was powerful enough to bring him out of his coma. As he awoke in a room filled with his siblings, children, and wife, he looked at the doctor. “Doc, you’ve got to let me live,” he implored. “There’s an innocent man on death row.”

He didn’t want to live for all the people loving and surrounding him; he wanted to live for a child molester.

He got the gift of a year. His cardiologists put him on a medicine pump that would keep his heart beating. They said it would give him an extra three to six months until the drugs killed his kidneys. He got a year instead—that’s pretty good.

He got a year, a precious gift of time, a gift most of us would spend righting wrongs or embracing life. He spent the year on his book.

Last week he went back into the hospital. Kidney failure. We knew it was coming.

Visitors came to the hospital. Mostly family, with a glaring exception—the murderer’s wife and priest.

The wife was ever thankful to the only other person who believed in her husband’s innocence. (A quick aside: how fucking gullible do you have to be to fall in love with and marry a man on death row for murdering a child? She herself admits that yes, her husband did kidnap and molest children in California, but he did his time for his crime. But now he’s in prison for a crime he didn’t commit! Um, even if you thought he was innocent of the crime he’s currently in jail for, how the fuck could you marry someone who you know molested children? God, I want to punch her in the face.) She was so thankful to Nico’s father that she wanted to save his soul.

Here this man of science, someone ruled by rationality, someone who derided Christianity, was baptized into the Greek Orthodox Church. He set aside his plans to be cremated and have his ashes spread in the sea. Instead, he was going to have the monks build him a casket and he was going to be buried at the monastery near the prison where his hero was sitting on death row, waiting to join him in a plot at the same monastery. The murderer’s wife even offered to pay for the funeral because she and her husband were so grateful to Nico’s dad.

The wife and the priest continue to visit. They bring with them the murderer’s books on spirituality to comfort the family. (I forget the pen name—Anthony of Desert or something like that?) They pray with Nico’s father.

How do your mourn someone who has cast his family aside to serve a pedophile and murderer? I don’t know, I really don’t. For his part, Nico has decided not to go to the funeral. He’s been to the hospital and said his goodbyes, and he will not go back.

All I feel is sad, sad for an old man who squandered his life on a lie, sad for his children who lost a father a long time ago, sad for a little girl who lost her life in 1984 and still hasn’t seen justice. 



Of course I changed their names a little bit, cuz you never know when a gang banger is gonna need a little WordPress reading time:

“Mike (michael) berelli, barelli? Gang name Tick Tock. If anything happens to me. Also G.G and Spook (gang names) will know. This is not funny or meant as a joke what-so-ever. Be careful who you befriend.”

So how does a girl who grew up in the suburbs come to know–and feel her life threatened by–people like these?

My sister had everything. A comfortable home in a quiet neighborhood. Hair the color of black cherries that intoxicated every male she met. A curvaceous build that kept them intoxicated. A mind that allowed her to graduate both high school and an RN program with a 4.0 without even trying.

But it wasn’t enough for her. It never was. She always needed more fun more men more booze more drugs.  More more more more more.

And in her quest for more, she lost everything.

She’s gone from having an amazing six-figure job to no job at all, from owning a beautiful house to rooming with someone she met at rehab in a shady duplex next to the river park where dealers meet their patrons and men on the dl meet up with the guys who answered their Craigslist ads. She’s exhausted the money she cashed out of her life insurance, her retirement, and her son’s college fund (without telling him, of course–he went to take money out for textbooks and found all the money was gone). She’s lost her health and spends more time in hospitals than anywhere else because of all the damage decades of extreme drinking and drug abuse have done to her body.

And she’s lost her soul, too. She has no conscience; like a sociopath she hurts others and feels nothing, but does pretend to feel it when apologizing is advantageous to her. Like when my dad went to rescue her and she turned on him, for instance. She was at a seedy casino one night and called my dad to pick her up. (She needs to be picked up from casinos a lot; I’m pretty sure she’s turning tricks.) She was saying goodbye to a man when my father arrived, and she had nothing but a towel, not even shoes. He put her into the car and screamed at her the entire way home. Indignant because he screamed at her, she refused to get out of the car when they got home, and in revenge she called 911. To report that her father had raped her. Cops arrived. Of course no charges were pressed, of course the police knew she was lying because they’ve responded to calls related to her many, many, many times before. In fact, they always send a supervisor out whenever there’s a call with her name or an address she’s associated with because she’s been flagged in their system as trouble. They’d even responded to a rape call related to her before (that one was when she had to stay at a women’s shelter one night and got so mad at my parents for not letting her stay at their house instead that she claimed two men raped her there. At a women’s shelter. Where there are no men). They took her to the rape crisis center . . . and she didn’t like it there. So she called my dad, sobbed falsely apologetic tears, and asked him to come pick her up.   

This is my sister.

I saw her in July, and I knew then that I would never see her again. The most surreal part was that I didn’t feel any sadness about that at all.

Last night I got a text that some gang banger is responsible if she goes missing. A few years ago I would have been fearful. A few years ago I would have called the police to report what she said. 

Today, though, I respond differently. Today I know that she had everything–and more. She had a family who supported her through her most horrific deeds. And it’s been horrific. My niece and nephew have lived through the most vile of things, the worst of which was seeing one of their mother’s drug-crazed boyfriends threaten to kill their mother but then turn the gun on himself, pulling the trigger and destroying their innocence as the gunshot rang through the house. It’s been horrific . . . and through it all she had support from her family. Even when she made up that awful story about my dad, he went to the crisis center to pick her up when she called “apologetically” in the middle of the night.

Today I realize that she is the captain of her own fate. She is the one who had everything and traded it in. She is the one who chose not to take the second, fifth, fifteenth chances she had in this life. She is the captain of her own fate, even if that fate is the wrath of a gang banger she pissed off. 



Let’s start with the good news: Nicole is in a relationship!

(For those of you just joining the story, Nicole is my significant other’s ex-girlfriend, a woman who has fought like a rabid animal to keep her claws in him.)

Imagine my joy at that news. No more manipulations to try to bring Nico back into her life (her last trick was calling him when she was halfway to San Diego to ask him if he’d go over to her house to give the dog water and food; Nico didn’t fall for it and she called someone else to do it). No more texts. No more trying to cozy up to Nico’s family. We were rid of our nuisance! 

Except, well, the boyfriend she chose was one of Nico’s friends, someone she and Nico went to law school with. Hmm, okay, still a social tie that might bring her into our orbit from time to time. 

And then, there was a mystery person who showed up on Facebook.

Nico had a love-hate relationship with Facebook. He had a lot of fun writing goofy, sometimes smart-ass comments on the things people posted. He hated how many random people tried to friend him just because they’d gone to the same elementary school (forget the fact that they probably never spoke). Because of this he ditched his account and opened another account under a pseudonym. He didn’t have a lot of friends on his new account; it was mainly just family and close friends. Oh, and Nicole. She apparently found out about the pseudonym from a mutual friend and sent a friend request.

When Facebook went public last week, Nico decided to abandon it all together. He deleted his account and, by extension, Nicole’s access to his life.

Roll forward to this weekend, and we were at Nico’s parents to celebrate my son’s birthday. I half-heard a conversation Nico is having with his sister and brother-in-law about Nellie Olsen . . . they’d just accepted friend requests from someone adopting the Little House on the Prairie persona thinking it was Nico creating another Facebook alter-ego, but he told them it wasn’t him. I didn’t think anything of it until I checked Facebook on my phone a bit later to find that Nellie had sent a friend request to me, too.

Her page was next to bare of any identifying information. A birthdate in 1974 was listed (this is the year Nicole was born), and a high school in the town Nico and I are from was listed, too. That’s it. Nothing else.

I was able to see her friends, though. There were only five, and every last one was tied to Nico. Nico’s ex-wife. Nico’s sister. Nico’s brother-in-law. Nico’s best friend. Nico’s best friend’s wife. 

Creepy.

Whoever this Nellie was, she wanted access to the key players in Nico’s life.

And then, I realized I could see Nellie’s subscriptions. She was subscribed to just one person’s posts. Mine. 

Creepy.

So I sent a message, asking her who she was because I didn’t accept friend requests from strangers. 

I know it’s shocking, but she never responded.

Then, around midnight last night, she finally posted something to her wall, a link to an article about liars. Passive aggressive a bit, Nellie?

I reported “Nellie” to Facebook today. We’ll see what happens. 

I don’t know who else Nellie could be besides Nicole. Who else would want to stalk everyone closely tied to Nico? Who else would be subscribed to me, and only me? 

I’m angry. I’m wanting to punch her. But mostly, I’m just thankful that Facebook has built in ways to protect myself, that I can simply click “report” and “block” to be done with it. Image



How do you raise your children to have open minds when you have an ex who counters your belief in openness?

I’m in the middle of the longest, stupidest legal battle in the history of family law (okay, I may be exaggerating a wee bit, but it certainly feels that way). This was supposed to be over in December. It’s May. Last week the judge set a court date in August, so this promises to drag out for months more.

At issue: parenting specifics. My ex is fighting me on three things:

1) He doesn’t want to provide on-going support for my severely developmentally-disabled son after he turns 18. (Said son is now seven, still in diapers, and can’t answer the simple question “what’s your name?” He will always need a guardian.)

2) He doesn’t want to pay a fair share of child support. He works 20 hours of overtime per week (this is, after all, his excuse for bailing on his visitation time), but he wants child support calculations based upon his base salary only.

3) He is arguing with a clause stating that I will have final decision-making authority when it comes to my children’s medical, educational, and religious issues.

Number three, ah there’s the rub. At least in the issue at hand today–number one pisses me the fuck off more than I can express. But that’s for another blog post.

My older son craves knowledge. At the beginning of the school year when they do those cheesy “about me” projects, one of the things he always says about himself is that he loves to learn. Our DVR is filled with shows like Nova, Planet Earth, and Wonders of the Universe because he loves discovering all he can about the world.

We’ve spent hours upon hours snuggled on the couch together watching documentaries about Pangaea and homo erectus and dinosaur fossils. So what he said last week was particularly surprising.

“The Earth is 4,000 years old.”

Nico was dumbfounded. Soon he began to pepper my son with logic to challenge this flabbergasting claim. “What about the Triassic era you learned about when you did your dinosaur project? How long ago was that era?”

“300 million years ago. But maybe the book got the number wrong and it was really 4,000 years ago.”

“There are human records that date back to over 4,000 years ago. We have writing on stone tablets from the Nile region and the Indus Valley that are more than 4,000 years old.”

This went on and on. By the end, my son concluded that the dinosaurs were created 4,000 years ago, then died out, then were replaced by humans the next day.

What?

My ex has become more and more of a religious fundamentalist as he’s aged. When he moved to Metropolis in November, he started attending a fundamentalist Baptist church religiously (no pun intended). And, when he has the boys on the weekend, he takes them to church. I didn’t have a problem with this really because the church has a special needs ministry with people who understand my younger son’s disability so he actually has a nice time when he goes.

But, it seems that my older son’s two-hour Sunday school class strives to indoctrinate the children in Young Earth Creationism. This theory goes beyond just saying that God created the world; it calculates years based upon the biblical record to determine how old the Earth is. All of those long, tedious passages of “so and so begat so and so who lived to be 700 years old” are tallied. Most people who adhere to this theory believe the Earth was created 5,700 to 10,000 years ago, but my son’s Sunday School teacher is apparently a bit more radical and thinks the number is 4,000. Science and history be damned; a literal translation of the Bible is all that matters.

If it were up to me, I’d allow my son to make his own decisions about his faith. I want to expose him to a rich range of belief systems, from atheism to Zoroastrianism, and allow him make up his own mind as he explores because I believe that a religion that is forced on someone has no value at all. However, until a judge says “yes” me having final decision-making come August, I don’t have any legal standing to make an authoritative stand against my ex’s fundamentalism. And, I don’t want my son to feel torn between believing what mom says and what dad says.

What’s a mom to do?

Last night my son was beyond intrigued by Nova episode about the elements. Bedtime was creeping up, but he was so enthralled that I decided to be a bit lax on my typical militancy about going to bed on time. I was just about to the point where I was going to pause the show and pick up on the rest the next day when the host, David Pogue, began to talk about the development of the elements on Earth. It all started with microorganisms, which developed into algae, which expelled oxygen as a byproduct of its chemical reactions, which made the development of other forms of life possible. Pogue met up with a microbiologist who studies the hot springs of Yellowstone and said, “I prepared to meet my oldest living relative.” He was about to meet a microorganism who lives in the boiling waters.

I paused the DVR. Teaching moment.

I asked my son if he knew what Pogue was talking about when he said he was meeting his oldest living relative. He didn’t know. Nico, being the playful and sarcastic guy he is, started calling out possibilities just to make my son laugh. “A camel? Chester Cheeto? Jose Ole? A T-rex?”

I told him to be quiet, that I was going to talk about evolutionary biology with my son. The “ah ha!” look flitted onto Nico’s face as he realized what I was doing, and he shut up.

My son and I talked about how old Pogue said the microorganism were, then traced the evolutionary path from microbe to algae to other forms of life. It countered the story of creation that he’d learned, and he repeated the Genesis account with such accuracy that I’m pretty sure the church has the Sunday School kids memorizing the opening chapters of the book word for word. I didn’t want to say the Genesis account was wrong because that would counter my goal of encouraging him to encounter a wide variety of ideas with an open mind, so we talked about how Moses didn’t know anything about microbiology or atoms when he wrote the Pentateuch and because of that he could only fathom the creation of the world in metaphorical terms. Then Nico and I told him about the wide array of origin myths from culture to culture, from the Epic of Gilgamesh to the Navajo Glittering World to the Norse Muspell (yes, we’ve both spent way to much time in school). I told my son that how the Earth came into being was a question so unfathomable in a pre-scientific world that the people tried to make sense of it all through metaphor and story.

My son rested his head on his palm, as if all the mental work his brain was doing made it too heavy for his neck muscles to hold.

“You’re blowing my mind,” he said.

Yes, my mind would be blown too if someone started talking to me about microbes and Gilgamesh when I was only ten.

And yet, he was intrigued. Thirsty to learn more. He asked if we could watch more Nova episodes tomorrow, and I said of course.

He went to bed with an open, curious mind. I couldn’t ask for more.

Have you had any challenges with contrasting parental belief systems, especially among exes? How did you respond?



{January 13, 2012}   Resentment

I know it’s unwarranted. I’m aware of the illogic of feeling this way. But still . . .

I had a vibrant social life when I lived in my old city. I had a sister-soulmate just a couple of miles away, and I had a menagerie of friends from all walks of life, some I’d known since I was seven, some I’d met in graduate school. When the kids were with their dad, I was with my friends. Hitting happy hour at a family-owned Mexican restaurant. Sitting around a kitchen table drinking lots of wine. Going to plays. Eating giant slices of cheesecake at Something Sweet. Dancing our asses off at the cowboy bar. Drinking beers by the pool. I loved every second of the time I spent with my friends, and every time I get a chance to go see them, I do.

Nico didn’t have the same sort of social life. He didn’t go out, unless he was down visiting me and I dragged him along with me. His lack of friends was part of how he tried to justify having that whore Nicole hang out–she was one of his only friends.

I remember getting frustrated when I came to Metropolis to spend a week with him and he struggled through even a second without me. I went out for a walk . . . and my boyfriend who doesn’t even walk to the mailbox put on some tennis shoes and walked until he found me. I wanted to be part of his life instead of being his life; I couldn’t handle being someone’s entire existence again.

Move the clock hands forward, and here I am, living in Metropolis with Nico. I have a few friends here, which is cool, but most of my friends are two hours away in my old city. Add to that the boys’ father being a bit of a deadbeat when it comes to his time with them, and my social life has shriveled.  LOL, and just then I inadvertently gave Nico a social life of his own again.

I needed a lawyer for some custody issues. Nico called up an old buddy of his. Awhile back the two of them had had a practice together that was more frat house than workplace, that is, until the friend’s wife, a very serious lawyer, came in and ruined all their fun. So Nico left the firm.

While not fun, the wife is a kick-ass attorney who happens to specialize in domestic issues. She’s dedicated and can be a bitch when she needs to be, which makes her incredibly effective at what she does. She once got a child returned from Venezuela and back into the arms of the parent she was representing, for heaven’s sake. Totally the person I wanted on my side in a custody case.

So I got Nico and his old buddy back in touch with each other, and they’ve been going out for beers after work. I was so excited. Just what I always wanted–a social life for Nico!

Once the ball got rolling, he started getting back in touch with other friends. He goes out to get beers with his friend J (who he hasn’t hung out with since we started dating . . . and I think it’s because J and I flirted a hell of a lot before Nico and I started dating). He hangs out with his half-brother, too. Good, good; very good. Demi is happy.

Nico was sick all week. I was super-awesome at taking care of him, for which he thanked me profusely. Today he feels better, which is great. Just in time for date night. My ex takes the kids on Friday evening (they still come back to sleep, though), and Nico proclaimed that those precious child-free hours shall be date time.

At about 1:30 Nico texted me while I was at work. He was going out to get a drink with his friend D. from law school, and he’d left me lunch on the stove.

Despite the sweet gesture of lunch, Demi is not happy.

Yes, I know, I got what I wanted for him. He’s got a social life. Even if it is date night and he’s been with his buddy for five hours now and I don’t know when he’s coming back.

But it’s not really that. The thing is, I’m jealous. I want my own stuff to go do and people to hang out with. I don’t want to just hang out in the house with my kids all the time.

A few days ago I decided to go out and do just that. I arranged for babysitters and signed myself up for a yoga class that starts next week. Yay doing something I love! Yay meeting new people!

Nico asked me about the class with keen interest. And then he asked if he could take the class with me.

Of course, yes. I’ve been wanting him to get healthier. I’ve been wanting to find some other things for us to do together besides going to movies and eating out. Of course, yes.

But even as I said yes, I felt like I’d given up something. It was my thing, mine, and I was excited about having a thing. Because I want him to be part of my life instead of him being my life.

I’ve always wanted to learn how to knit; maybe I’ll go join a knitting circle. He’s sure to not want to join that ;)



{October 30, 2011}   (Over)Sexed

So I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. Okay, for a month or two. Because, well, I miss sex.

Sex has always been a central feature of the relationship Nico and I share. When we were young, we never had sex, per se, but we made those first steps into the sexual world together. He was the first guy to take off my bra; I was the first girl to go down on him (lol, the way he tells it, I, in my novice-ness, kept stopping and saying, “Are you going to come?” as if I was nervously awaiting a bomb explosion . . . I don’t remember that part but, uh, I think his retelling is accurate). When we got back together in our mid-30s, that feverish need for one another’s bodies was still there. After we finally had sex, we both kept asking one another, “Why weren’t we doing this all along?” It sounds like cliched romanticism, but it felt like our bodies were meant to be together. I actually had an orgasm when he’d only been inside me for about three seconds on that first night–which seems like a physical impossibility, I know. It was a confluence of things, though: the rekindling of my sexual awakening all those years ago, the intimacy of having the person who knew me better than anyone inside me, the perfect physical match in terms of his size and my preference.

I guess living in two different cities had something to do with it, but whenever we were together we couldn’t stop touching one another. Watching TV, sitting at a bar, walking up to a restaurant, riding around in his Jeep . . . we were *always* touching. And then there was the sex, too. I think in all that time we lived apart that there was only on night I spent with him when we didn’t have sex. We had sex in his bed, on his couch, in his kitchen; on his mom’s couch, in his nephew’s room, in his Jeep. Oh, and once on the hood of Nicole the Whore’s car. We just had this need, not merely a want, to connect physically.

And then we moved in together.

So, I know my life is exhausting. Having two kids with autism running around doesn’t make for a quiet, simple life, especially when my younger son had some significant freak-outs about all the new things and new places around him when we first moved to Metropolis. And it’s not just the kids who make the house chaotic; therapists show up four days a week to work with the kids. I’m always running around, the kids are always running around, the therapist are always running around. My house is a three-ring circus.

Maybe it was that circus. Maybe it was the familiarity of living together. Maybe it was the health issues Nico encountered. I dunno. What I do know is that every night when I curled up next to him that I still craved him . . . and he was content to kiss me goodnight and roll over.

I wasn’t deterred. I seduced him frequently. Sometimes it was rather overt; sometimes it was subtle. Eventually, I started to get resentful; we were having sex, but I always initiated it. And he was starting not to get my subtle seductions. And even on a couple of occasions he rejected the overt ones: “It’s 2AM, love.” I’d never had a man turn down sex with me because it was late.

I wanted my boyfriend to crave me, need me, and I tired of seducing him–I wanted him to seduce me. So I gave up, for the most part. There were times when I wanted him so much that I couldn’t sleep next to him, so I slept on the couch some nights instead. We started having sex once every one to two weeks and had one three-week plus stretch. I talked to him about it, of course. “I miss you not being able to not touch me, I miss you craving me, I miss you coming up to me in the kitchen and needing to be inside me right then.” But there’s a point when sharing how you feel can start to sound naggy, and I sure as hell didn’t want to nag my boyfriend into having sex with me. So I stopped saying much about it.

And then came the worst part.

It was a Friday night, and the kids were out of town. I put on the black lacy thing that I’d had sitting in my closet for about a month and struck a sexy pose in the bedroom doorway, waiting for him to turn the corner and see me. Which he did . . . and then he went to the front of the house to turn off the TV and turn off the lights and lock up the doors. Then he came back into the room . . . and plugged in his cell phone. LOL, I was so sure that he’d take one look at me, scoop me up, and throw me on the bed. Yeah, not so much.

I had a “what the fuck?!” look on my face and he asked me what was wrong. I told him that he’d turned off the TV and plugged in his cell phone. “I knew we were done with the living room for the night, and I knew I’d forget to plug in my phone if I didn’t do it now.” Um, sure.

So there was some back and forth, both playful and serious, and he kept trying to convince me that he wanted me and I kept trying to convince him that he was a dumb ass. Eventually we did get to the bed, and he started touching and kissing my body. Worst oral ever. Not because he was doing anything wrong, but because despite all his practical reasons for not responding to my alluring black lace immediately, I felt heartbroken.

Maybe he was responding to my disappointment, but the past few days have been good. We had sex on Thursday night. We had sex in his home office during the middle of the day on Friday. We had sex last night (granted, I did say when we got into bed, “Let me know if you wake up and want to be inside me”). Phew. But at the same time, I wondering if he’s just trying to appease me.

I’m left wondering, am I just an over-sexed woman who wants too much? Nico does tell me about 80 times a day that he loves me, so should I be content with that?

What do you think–is it normal for sex to drop off when a couple gets past the two-year mark, or should a woman be worried when her partner’s interest drops off?



{August 22, 2011}   Dad

Nico had gone to Sonic. He comes from a family that shows their love for each other through food, so he is constantly wanting to make me food or buy me food. LOL, not good for my waistline.

I was unloading the bags to get to my chili cheese tots (the most awesome creation in the universe, aside from pizza), and I stole one of Nico’s regular tots. And stole another for my older son.

A minute later my son asked, “Can I have another tot?”

“They’re Nico’s; you’ll have to ask him.”

My son turned to Nico. “Dad, can I have another tot?”

*********

Nico and I looked at each other, holding each other’s eyes for a moment. It was a simple slip of the tongue, I suppose, but we were both aware that it was a pivotal moment. My son had called Nico dad. It was unintentional, and he never even realized that he said it, but that he would subconsciously call him that, think him that . . .

*********

Saturday was visit dad day. Nico and I drove the kids down to their father’s town and pulled up to his house. My older son got out of the car on his own, but my younger son didn’t want to move. His disability is profound and he has significant developmental delays, but while he may not be able to put his feelings in words he can very clearly communicate them. I unbuckled his seat belt.

He rebuckled it.

He screamed about getting out of the car. He kicked his feet. When his dad tried to walk him up to the house, he dropped dead-weight to the ground, just like my self-defense teachers always said to do when someone was trying to take you where you don’t want to go.

He didn’t want to go with dad. He wanted to stay with mom and Nico.

*********

On Saturday night Nico and I were asleep at his mom’s house; we’d stayed down there rather than driving back to Metropolis and having to drive back on Sunday to get the boys. Somewhere in the middle of the night Nico jolted up, which woke me up. Then he laughed at himself.

“I heard a sound and thought it was one of the boys. Guess that’s what happens when you have kids.” He didn’t just have a girlfriend who had kids; he had them.

*********

I knew that Nico would be good to me. I knew that he would love me and take care of me. I just never knew how good he would be to my boys.

He has become their dad. Not begrudgingly, not because I forced him to be (I actually worked very hard to keep him from having to fulfill any parent responsibilities), but because he wanted to. He willingly steps up because he cares about us.

Last night after we got back to Metropolis I started vacuuming the kitchen floor, getting up all the crumbs my younger son had dropped on the floor. Vacuum still running, Nico came over and took it from my hand and said, “Let me do that.” I wrapped my arms around him and nuzzled my face into his neck. The vacuum was screaming but I held him tight, kissed his neck, and told him I loved him before I relinquished the vacuum to him.

“You go relax,” he said and pushed the vacuum toward the crumbs.

Tears rose up in my eyes. It was such a simple thing, a man vacuuming, but it was so foreign. He stepped up to clean my son’s mess so that I could rest. My children’s father never even did that.

Nico loves me. And he’s a good father. That’s the sexiest combination of all.



{July 15, 2011}   My Family

Nico came in from the garage. It was his in-office day, the day of the week I secretly love. During the rest of the week he works from his home office in t-shirts and ugly shorts, but on his in-office day, he’s magically transformed into this strong, incredibly sexy man when he puts on a crisply pressed white shirt, a smartly knotted tie, dark dress trousers, and expensive leather shoes. Nothing hotter than a man in dress clothes. Nothing.

My younger son and I were there by the door when Nico came in. He hugged and kissed me, and then he looked down at my son, scrunched up his face, hunched over, and became the tickle monster. My son squealed in delight and ran to his room to “hide” from the tickle monster. Giggling from under his blanket, he said, “Nico tickle [his own name]” over and over again.

My son’s developmental delays are very pronounced, so a sentence like this is rather amazing.

Nico stopped tickling for just a moment and my older son came into the room. The two boys created a cacophony of ‘Nicos’, each saying his name over and over again as they vied to get his attention.

For the first time, I looked at the four of us together and knew we were a family.

*********

Last night Nico and I were in bed and he laughed. “I just found a rock in the bed!” he exclaimed. “I know who it was; it was one of my chir-ren,” he said playfully, and then, again, “my chir-ren.”

He was being playful, as he always seems to be when he expresses the most serious of things, but his message was clear: these are my children. They aren’t just some kids his girlfriend dragged along from a previous relationship; they are his. And I know he’ll always love them as his own and be better to them than their biological father is.

We’re a family. A family.



{July 4, 2011}   Moving In

Nico and I finally did it: we finally moved in together. The air conditioner works, the washing machine works, the bugs have been killed . . . finally everything has fallen into place.

My biggest concern wasn’t the physical details of the house, though. My biggest concern was with how the occupants of the house would mesh together.

The single mom thing colors and changes everything about dating. It’s not just me that Nico was moving in with; it was my kids, too. When Nico started talking about marriage back in the spring I told him, “You can’t just love me. You have to love all three of us.” We’re a package deal, my boys and me. Nico and I meshed just fine, but how would the four of us be together?

From the moment my little dudes and I stepped into the house, my older boy was glued, absolutely glued, to Nico. Oh my god. It was like Nico was the coolest person in the universe. He wants Nico to play Bakugan with him and watch him do cool tricks in a video game and listen to him tell stories.

My older boy happens to be the keenest judge of people I’ve ever met. He can sense if someone is a good guy or if someone is a tool. And he’s never quiet about those opinions. At school there were a couple dumb-ass teachers that I’d love to punch . . . and my son got the same vibe from these individuals and would march up to the principal’s office to demand they be fired. And he doesn’t want to fire Nico; he wants to spend every second he can with him.

Last night the boys’ dad called. My older son talked to him for all of 90 seconds then handed the phone off to me. I realized that since we moved to Metropolis, he’s never once asked about his dad or said a single thing about missing him. Never once. Like I said, he’s a keen judge of character.

For his part, Nico seems a bit shell-shocked. He’s not used to living with kids so all of this is a major adjustment. I’m trying to pace myself and give him time . . . but I’m impatient so that’s hard.



et cetera
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