Thursday, September 1, 2011

Name This Relationship

Elizabeth and Amster are in love. It's really quite wonderful to watch.

Amster went from a perfect-for-the-3-of-them house with two young gentlemen enjoying peeing duels into the toilet bowl to a fancy house with a pool and a boyfriend and 2 very feminine young ladies. It's been an adjustment for all of them.

Once the bedrooms and custody and bus schedules were figured out they settled into a school routine involving a rotating cast of people who love the children. Today was my turn to share the love with 2 of the 3 littles, my favorite boys on the planet. Da Rock Shop was obviously our destination. We spent a blissful hour fondling and choosing and changing our minds. We read signs and did the math required to spend only the $5 each I was giving them for being my favorite boys on the planet. We contemplated the unfairness of a universe with so many choices and so little funds. We debated the wisdom of spending allowance money on a trilobite or saving it for the weekend, to fund adventures at Dad's house. We began to run a tab when the long-suffering young man behind the counter started his third paper receipt; we left with our treasures securely bagged and bubble wrapped.

They fastened their own seat belts and we were back at the fancy house in no time. Snacks? "No, thank you." Someplace else? "No, home would be good." This blended family is obviously working for them.

I bought a pink quartz heart for the littlest little, since we all agreed that anything pink would be perfect.for her. Mr. 8 wondered about the ungifted Elizabeth. He was vaguely unsatisfied with my answer. I took her to Starbucks where she got her favorite double chocolate something or other yesterday and lunch and pilates last weekend and she's a big girl and knows I love her just didn't pass muster. He has the most serious face when he's thinking and planning and plotting; when we got into the car he informed me that the last item he'd purchased, with his own money, the change from his wallet, was for Elizabeth. He didn't want her to be the only one without something.

This is turning into a family, isn't it?

We got home to an exhausted firefighter in a recliner, opened a bag of cheddar cheese and sour cream chips that Safeway (yes, that Safeway) presented to me at no charge after I bought 4 Coca-Cola products yesterday, and watched Mr. 8 do his math homework in a race against his mother, who was on her way home. He beat her. It took me right back to my own kitchen with my own 8 year old who was wearing the exact same look of supreme satisfaction and I saw on the little boy in front of me. I missed the one and hugged the other so fiercely this afternoon that I got a "Leave me alone" and I did as he reached behind me for his DS, his reward for finishing his homework. He'd complied with the List of Rules posted on the refrigerator.  We were all proud of him. There had been no arguing. There was compliance.  It was peaceful and lovely and calm.  We all enjoyed it.

If ever I needed an exemplar of my main parenting mantra, this was it. Kids Like Rules.

Elizabeth came in the front door as Amster came in the back. The exhausted guy kept on sleeping and the kids began talking at her while Elizabeth grabbed her in a hug that wouldn't let go. Amster, balancing mail and legal pads and a purse, hugged her right back. She didn't let go, either.

 I told you, they are in love.

So, what should they call one another? I'm Elizabeth's faux grandmother, and her actual grandmother doesn't mind at all. Amster and the firefighter have boy/girlfriend for one another, tho as adults it rattles around in the mouth just a little. The kids are at a loss. Spare Daughter was suggested and rejected. Quickly rejected. My boy/girlfriend's daughter/son takes too long and implies a distance that just doesn't exist between them. Biology isn't necessary for parenthood to exist, but the names take on a significance in this situation.

That's it. We can't go any further. We have no more thoughts on the matter. Do you?


  1. Elizabeth is Amster's daughter, right? I'm so confused... No wonder you need to name the relationship. LOL. I think I need to flowchart this...

    Will get back with you once I can figure out all of the inter-personal relationships.

    Megan xxx

  2. Many adults with whom I interact, both same-sex unmarried couples and opposite-sex unmarried couples, use "my partner" to describe their "boyfriend/girlfriend." Of course that doesn't solve your problem about what to call the kids.

  3. Amster birthed the boys. Firefighter fathered the girls. See why it's so confusing!

  4. Let's call them Happy! Lucky! Flexible!

  5. And THIS is why I love you, Nance. This is "My Happy Daughter" "This is my Flexible Mom".

  6. They are indeed happy, lucky and flexible!

    In our family, my daughter has three moms. Her birth mom she calls mom, and the others she addresses by first name.

    To add to that, she has had two dads and her birth dad married his brother's widow. Now my daughter also has a "sister cousin" and one mom was an aunt.

    We're all together at holidays and occasions, and honestly we don't think much about it. The grandchildren are well adjusted and love everyone. (They are teens now.) The relationships are clear to us. We are happy. We are family. There is love.

    That said, there have been friends who have asked us to all scrunch together for a photo so they can explain to their friends.

    You will love having this family!

  7. So, I'm in a poly household. The girlfriend and the boyfriend and their kid. The boyfriend and his wife and their kid. After ten years, and at ages of many multiple decades, boyfriend, girlfriend sounds goofy. I asked him to marry me and he said yes so we could say fiance, but that's disingenuous.

    What I've noticed in our house is a distinct lack of naming relationships. Heck, I usually say "the kid" and don't even associate a gender or age.

    Naming things works when it works and if it doesn't work, don't force it.

    Of course, I like to use words like paramour or beloved or consort just because. Reminds folks that it's about the love, not the legal, but all the same, I'm including another comment about the legal.

  8. My cousin was marrying into an old money family. Not stodgy, but old fashioned.

    As the date approached she was starting to get a little nervous about the big day.

    My other cousin, attending the wedding, was one of the inspirations I think for the phrase: flaming gay.

    So he goes up to her one day while's kind of rattled and says:

    I was thinking about how you should introduce David.

    You probably shouldn't say partner, because he's a lawyer and that means something very different to him.

    And I'd appreciate it if you didn't say longtime companion because that makes it sound like one of us is in a nursing home.

    So I was thinking you could just call us co-sodomites.


    I'm pretty sure she laughed and put it all in perspective, but I bet she was still a little nervous on her wedding day.

    Which is not a bad thing.


Talk back to me! Word Verification is gone!