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So Much Love in My Life, and Still I Want More

27 Dec


A colorful plastic star hangs on his crib and plays soft, soothing music, while pale pastel images are projected on the ceiling of his bedroom. He observes the images, wide eyed, with glee, and slowly, mesmerized, releases his grasp of awareness and sinks into a deep sleep. I sit beside him, my hand on his back, concentrating on his breaths, and on the soft movement of his back, like ripples in water, rising and descending. So small, I think to myself. How can I love something so small, so much.

Five years later, here I am, organizing the closet in the guest room, and wondering who gets the musical plastic star. I change the batteries and clean the toy with a wet cloth. PLAY. The soft ringing music is suddenly too much. Without warning, tears well up in my eyes. I’ll be 38 soon. He’s going on six. We have our cute little ground floor apartment facing an orchard filled with grapefruit trees, and our goofy dog runs around the yard, chasing away the cats (and mice) and getting into fights with a hedgehog every now and again. We have D and his girls, who spend time with us every week. And still, at the end of the day, it’s still just the two of us. At least it often feels this way.

There’s D. My man, the one who’s loved me for over three years now, who’s allowed me to truly get to know him, without censorship, who’s broken through the fortress that used to be my heart, who’s seen me cry, and made me laugh, who’s strong arms hold me on the nights we’re together, and when he’s inside me I sometimes can’t believe my luck, that I get to have my legs wrapped around him and experience such pleasure.

I love his two girls, although I don’t see enough of them, because we’ve decided not to live together. Or he’s decided and I’ve gone with it. Or I had to go with it, because it was non-negotiable. I’m not sure. And every time my period comes, I’m a little disappointed, because we’re not trying for a baby – that too is non-negotiable – but still I hope to somehow, accidentally get knocked up and ruin everything.

It sure would make things easier if I had another child. To begin with, I’d be so busy, there would be no time to think about my life and debate whether I’m content or if something is missing. Some things would definitely be missing: sleep, and alone time, and sex. But I would probably be too busy to notice. I also wouldn’t notice how my boy is all grown up, going on play-dates instead of listening to me read, and suddenly acting as if getting a hug from his mom after school is embarrassing.

But there is no baby, and probably won’t be another baby. Or – there can be another baby, maybe, but then I need to find a father. And I don’t want another father. I just want D.

I was reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to my son before bedtime tonight. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.” Dumbledore told Harry, who was enchanted by the mirror of Erised.

I don’t want to forget to live. I don’t want to forget that even though he’s nearly six, he still crawls into bed with me on Saturday mornings. And that sometimes, when D is over with his girls, they crawl in too, and we all steal a few more minutes of sleep, all five of us together.

I don’t want to forget how even though we’ve been together for over three years, I still feel in love when I see him, and how he says things to me, like that I’m the second best thing that’s ever happened to him after his girls being born, and that he wants to love me for always and grow old with me by his side.

I don’t want to forget how lucky I am to be working in a place I find meaningful, to be affecting the lives of so many children every day, to truly like going to work in the morning and meeting my friends, who are my co-workers.

There is no baby. There may never be one. But I don’t want to stand there staring into my mirror of Erised and become addicted to the sight of a little bundle of happiness cradled in my arms, and forget that I can cradle my boy, or my man, or his girls, or my goofy, lovable dog.

He started reading now. My boy, not the dog. He’s outgrown all his clothes and shoes, and he no longer runs into my arms when I pick him up from kindergarten. But he does tell me about challenges and fears he’s overcome, and smiles at me with pride. He’s no longer obsessed with proving to me that he can do stuff on his own, and he’s not interested anymore in understanding how the world around him works. He now wants to understand abstract ideas, things that cannot be seen by means other than his own imagination. How did the universe begin, he asks. And what happens when you leave the atmosphere, and what is it like in space? And what will happen if I dig a very very very deep hole in the ground? I love how confident he is, not the way I was as a child, and so much more evolved than me – even as an adult. He knows his self worth, he loves himself. Looking at him I know I did a good job, and I know I could do it again.

I could.

But I won’t, I guess. And then when this saddens me.

And as I sit in the guest room, crying into a little plastic musical star, I think to myself that it’s unfair, that I have so much love in my life, and still – I want more.


A Meaningful Narrative – The Challenges and Pleasures of Secular Parenting

3 Apr

My son is nearing four now, what an incredible age! When allowed to freely explore, ask questions, and wonder about life – this is an age of outstanding discoveries, of vital first impressions of the world, of discovering who is trustworthy, what is permitted, where one can go and where doors are shut.

I have two strong guidelines in my parenting, that have been guiding me from the day I brought my Boy back home from the hospital. Be authentic. Tell the truth. There is a lot more of course. I try to listen to him, I mean really listen, as much as I can. I try to set boundaries where they are necessary, I try to support his urges to be independent and guide him and be supportive, and not lose my patience and maintain composure, even if he throws a fit because his sunny-side-up is leaking and now he won’t eat it.

But I honestly believe, if I’m authentic, if Mom-Me, is not an entirely different person from Professional-Me, and Intellectual-Me, and Friend-Me, and Lover-Me, then I’m doing something right. So I tell my son about my day when I come back from school. He listens, and then he tells me about his day at preschool. I joke around with him, because I can be silly like that sometimes. I say I’m sorry when I make a mistake. And I tell him the truth, or a version of the truth that he can take in, when he asks me the big questions, when he wants to know how life begins and what happens when it ends.

Yes, he’s not even four yet. But my son has already asked if everyone dies, and if I’ll die one day. I couldn’t tell him some ridiculous story. A part of me wanted to go with the heaven-story. It’s a good one, really. It comforted me when I was younger. But I didn’t. I said we live forever in the hearts of those who love us. It’s a good narrative. It’s as close as I could get to where I really am vs the death thing. He accepted my narrative the way only four-year-olds can, absorbing it, inscribing it into his own narrative, into the truths that he will now grow up with.

Now he knows, because he asked and I answered, that the male and female bodies fit together perfectly, like two pieces of a puzzle, that the sperm and the egg yearn to unite and form a baby. That they have to wait for love, because only when a man and a woman love one another, can they unite to form life. He knows that I think it’s a miracle. And so he finds if miraculous as well. And it is, isn’t it? He is too young to feel confused about it. Too young to be weirded out. The narrative I chose to deliver has now become one more truth that he will measure future stories about sex, love and child bearing against.

“How does the baby come out?” He asked.

“A woman body is amazing,” I said with wonder. “It widens for the baby to come out from between her legs. They in narrows again.”

“Really? It can do that?”

“Yes,” I answered. “Isn’t it amazing?”




A Nightly Chat

30 Sep

“I wanted to tell you something earlier, but I didn’t want to make you laugh while you were… you know. Safety first.”

I laugh. “Well?”

“This might sound weird, but I mean it.”

“OK, come on. Out with it.”

“Well, it’s just that you really put you heart into that blowjob.”

“What the fuck? D?”

“No, I’m not saying it to be funny. Well, maybe a little. But I mean, when you do that, it feels like you’re not just doing it, you’re really.. well… You put your heart into it. Sorry, I’ve no other words to describe it. And it’s amazing, in case that part wasn’t clear.”

“Well, thanks babe. I do put my heart into it.”

“I do too. You know, when you let me do that to you.”

“Yeah, I can tell.” I put my head on his chest. “You know that’s why we’re so good at this.”

“We’re amazing.”

“If only there were sexual Olympic games. We’d totally score high.”

“There are actually.”

“No there aren’t!”

“Yes, there are. You want to go?”

“What? How? Explain to me how that works.”

“Well, you have a bunch of girls, blowing a bunch of guys, and there’s a judge…”

“You’re such an idiot.”

“And the first one who comes – ”

“Now just wait a minute. No. That makes no sense. The first one who comes? That’s not necessarily the best one! You could totally have a quick mediocre orgasm.”

“Hmm… Well, maybe they attach electrodes to your head or something to measure your level of pleasure.”

“Now, that makes more sense.”

We lay there quietly.

“I like laying here in bed with you, talking nonsense.”

“Me too.”

“I like being with you, hanging out, just talking,”

“I like that too babe.”

“And I like fucking you.”

“What a coincidence. So do I.”

“You do, huh?” He smiles. “So which do you like more?”

“What do you mean?”

“Talking, or fucking?”

“Is that a real question?” He laughs. I roll my eyes. “I like the whole package, OK?”

“Well, it’s a pretty awesome package.” He holds me. Just go to I love you I think to myself.

“Hey, I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Itineraries, Sexy Rendezvous and Maintaining Sanity

9 May

Today is a down day, how surprising, as it’s a Saturday and I am home alone with no itinerary. I woke up at ten and it took me a full hour to get out of bed. Finally I was up, getting some work done in my pajamas. I had some coffee, but I only remembered to eat when I felt like I was going to faint. You’d think I’d have this down by now. I just don’t know how to be alone anymore.

On a different front, things are going pretty well with D. We seem to have survived my meltdown last Saturday, and our nearly six month old relationship is slowly evolving, two steps forward, one step back. Each in turn pushing forward, and pulling away. It’s like a series of contractions, only less painful and more pleasurable. I clutch and he releases, I release my grip and he tightens his. I’m desperate, he’s patient, I’m easy, and I can sense his need.

He’s working this weekend and again we’re finding little loopholes in our schedules to see each other. It’s kind of exciting, these hastened lunch breaks and naked afternoon rendezvous. Yesterday, on his way to work, he dropped by for an hour, and I was waiting for him in a tight sheer spaghetti strap top, and a skirt that I never wear without tights, since it’s way too short to be appropriate. But this time I passed on the tights, and underwear too for that matter.

It was one of the sexiest encounters I’ve had with him, or with anyone. He was beside himself with excitement, and something more, a kid of gratitude that you can only understand if you’ve been in a sexless relationship for a long time, especially in one that made you feel emasculated. There he was, showing me in every way that he could not resist me, his body warm, built just the right amount, his biceps streching his Tshirt only slightly, his face unshaven, his bristles prickly as he kissed my shoulders and neck.  “I missed you, zalataya.” (That’s my new nickname) “A lot.”

Minutes later he was naked and on top of me, my skirt rolled up, his arm firm around my neck and his other hand grabbing me by my waist. He moved me, positioned me, and repositioned me, and I loved him in control, molding our bodies like an artist. There’s a moment during sex when my mind goes foggy, and even if I tried I wouldn’t be able to think of anything. All systems shut down. I love that moment.

It was such good sex, that when we were done, I kissed him and said thank you. That made him crack up and he said, “I’m crazy about you.” and after a pause he added, “A lot”. And that made me laugh. We lay there in bed, holding each other and smiling to ourselves, and I wanted to hashtag the moment #Feeling blessed motherfuckers.   

Yesterday was an up day. I was at work in the morning, then running errands, meeting D, family dinner, and meeting up with J for a beer later that evening. All time accounted for. No time to overthink my life or sink into melancholia.

I really should stick to what I know.

Relationship Allergies

8 Mar

Yesterday was Saturday, and by chance, D and I were both free in the afternoon. We’ve been seeing each other for almost 4 months and our dates have almost always been nightly encounters, in my living room after my Boy went to bed, or on my night off, out at the movies, having dinner, or under the covers, in and out of sexy outfits, or watching a movie curled up with a cup of whiskey tea.

We both have kids, we both have jobs, we both have very limited time to spend with each other. He puts in an extra shift on Saturday to make ends meet, and we have to say goodbye at 6 a.m. on the only morning that I can sleep in. That’s just the way it is for us, and it’s been fine so far.

Not to mention my new rule of no sleepovers when my Boy is home. For the last two months I’ve been pushing it, allowing myself to fall asleep in his arms and waking up at 5 a.m. to sneak him out of the house before my Boy awakens. But last week, he had bad dreams, and came into my room crying at 3 a.m. I jumped out of bed and picked him up. “It’s OK sweetie,” I soothed him and myself, as I put him back in his bed. He didn’t see D, it was dark and he was half asleep but it freaked me out enough to wake D up and send him home right then and there.

So when we found out we would have a free afternoon together, we were pretty excited. I had all kinds of ideas for plans. We could go to the beach, or to the marina to walk by the water and sip beer and look at the yachts. Or we could catch a movie, or get sushi, or try to find an art exhibition to see. “I have an idea too,” D said, and since I tend to be bossy, and I’m working on it, I went with the flow.

D wanted us to go to the park for a long walk. It was nice to walk with him, in the cool breeze by the little lake with the ducks swimming about and the toads croaking loudly and mosquitoes biting my everything. After our walk we went to the grocery store to buy vegetables, and that’s when I started feeling weird. We got lettuce, mushrooms, tomatoes, a red onion, olives and feta cheese for a spectacular salad. D picked out the beers. We left the store and at the car he handed me the keys which he’d been keeping in his pocket for me, and I handed him the groceries to hold while I opened the car door. As we entered the car I felt a familiar yet distant feeling in my gut, a certain niceness, a plainness, a just-another-Saturday-eveningness, buying groceries and making a salad. It was odd.

We got home, made dinner and sat down to eat and watch a movie. I was enjoying the quiet comfort of being together with no expectations. But I wasn’t able to completely relax. My body was reacting to something, sending warning signals up from my feet to my knees and into my gut, making me a little short of breath. This is bad. The last person I shared such intimacy with ended up destroying me. Temporarily at least. I don’t want this. I don’t need this. A walk in the park! Salad! And he sits there on the sofa, and you wouldn’t believe it, scratches his scrotum right in front of me. No. I want to go back to nightly sex sessions and dark movie theaters and drunken silliness. I was so freaked out that I didn’t take my hands off him for the rest of the night, making up for a moment of intimacy with wild sex, until he basically told me he was exhausted and needed a break.

I had relationship allergies yesterday. I had a bad reaction to a moment of closeness that I used to crave. My favorite times with BD were evenings like this one, strolling in the park and making a salad. I used to love going to the supermarket with him. Having him hold the bag as I opened up the car door. I don’t know if I can do that again though. And maybe it’s a good thing that we’re so goddamn busy. It’ll be ages before we have an afternoon like this again.

The L Word

6 Dec

Sex makes me very emotional. The better it is, the more emotional I get. And so was the outcome last night.

We’d just shared an amazing sex session, wrapped in each other’s arms, still breathing heavily, when I said: “Don’t freak out. I love you.” I wasn’t panning on being the first to say it. But fuck it. I really wanted to say it and I wasn’t in the mood to restrain myself.

His response came quickly, almost as if he’d rehearsed it. “I think you’re amazing. I love being with you.” Then he held me tightly, so tightly that it was difficult to breathe. And he said, “It’s too early for me to say that.”

“I didn’t say it so you’d say it back.” I lied.

“I know.” He lied back.

Then we kissed and made out, and put it behind us. And it seemed to be OK. We spent the night together and had coffee in the morning, and told eachother what a good time we’d had. And made plans to meet again tonight.

And now, we’ll see.

A Glimpse into a Highliy Desirable Future

28 Nov

I wanted to invite him over when I was doing well. When I didn’t have  a a cold, and my boy was not feverish, and I hadn’t had a crazy day at work and sat in traffic for hours. I wanted him to come over when I was home alone, when I could cook us a fancy meal and open up a bottle of wine, and wear make up and a flimsy dress, and light candles, and feel attractive.

But at the end of the day I had, feeling defeated and lonely, when he asked if I wanted a hug, I said yes. Yes to a hug in sweats. Yes with the dishes unwashed. Yes without makeup. Yes with checking in on my boy every half hour to make sure his fever wasn’t going up again.

He wore sweats too. And when he came in I just held him, for a long time, standing by the door. His hands were on my back, touching my shoulders, then in my hair, and when I pulled back, he pulled me in for a kiss, a nice, warm, long one, by the open front door.

Later, on the sofa, we sat and chatted about our day. His daughter, almost two, had also had a fever and been sent home from daycare. Now she was with her mom. I told him about my boy, and the driving him to his grandparents in traffic, and going to work, and visiting M, and wanting to fix things that couldn’t be fixed.

Then he said he was hungry and I whipped something up and went in to check on my boy while he ate, and then we were on the sofa again, and he was rubbing my feet, and his touch was so soft and tender, that I wanted to cry.

With a sick child in the other room, with sweats, and no makeup, we went into my room to have the most comforting quiet sex you could possibly have, with someone you’ve only known for a couple of weeks, and do not allow yourself to fall for just yet. I had planned for alcohol and sexy outfits and fireworks, but as we lay in bed later, holding each other, I realized we both still had our socks on, and that was just fine.

I had an image then, of life with a partner. For the last two years I’ve been pretty much convinced that living with a partner was not for me. That a boyfriend would suit me fine, but that I would always need my own space, that I would never like someone enough to want to share my space with them. Now, I had a glimpse of a life, where things were not always sexy and glamorous. But how amazing it would feel to have someone there with me to share the ups and downs, and have quiet sex with, while my sick son was sleeping off his fever.

This was Wednesday. And in case you’re wondering, last night was my night off, and it was complete with dining, and wining and sexy outfits and candles. And it was delicious! But something about lying on the sofa with him, and having him rub my feet with the fuzzy socks on and tell me about his day, was nonetheless spectacular.