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Not Your Typical <Blank>
Last Saturday was not a typical day for my family.
It's not just that it was a weekend, although that does factor in. It's that today we decided to invite a gaggle of poly people into our home for a potluck. Is that what we should call a group of poly folks? A gaggle? A plethora, maybe? It was definitely a potluck, though.
We decided to invite all these folks to our home for a viewing of Lisa Ling's Our America show on polyamory. For those of you unaware, Ling has a documentary style show on the Oprah Winfrey Network, where she travels around talking to interesting people with stories to tell. She recently did an episode on poly families. Naturally, being a polyamorous family, we weren't going to miss it. And since we hate commercials, we recorded it on our DVR so we could skip to the good parts. Which also meant we could share it with others.
Right. About that family part. I'm Micah. If we set this up right, there's a picture of me with this post. There's also a picture of all of us at the top of this page. It was taken only a week or so after our first son was born. He'll be two in about two weeks, although if you ask him, he'll say "eight", since that is the only number he knows how to say. Michelle, Ian and Aimee are the other three adult members of the family. We've been together for five years now, living in a big old Victorian house in a historic neighborhood of Springfield, Massachusetts. I won't tell you exactly where, but let's just say that our "front yard" across the street comes with it's own zoo. And we don't have to mow the grass!
So we invited twenty-odd friends, scattered all over the northeast, to our house for food, fun and the show. If you haven't seen it, the episode, "I Love You & You...& You", was an excellent Poly 101-type show. Unlike many television treatments of polyamory, this one wasn't sensationalized, sexualized or exploitative in any way. Quite refreshing, actually. We knew it would be fun to watch with a bunch of like-minded folks, and that it would provoke interesting discussions. Which is exactly what happened.
Throwing this potluck is what made our day atypical. It didn't help that four of the five of us were out late last night, so we slept in this morning. We have a fifth member of our quad (I know, that's not how a quad is supposed to work, just go with it) that lives about thirty minutes away with her husband. We're poly, it's complicated. Normally, even on a weekend, we're (mostly) all up by seven-ish. Comes with the toddler territory. We spent the first half of the day cleaning our home, getting ready for company. Then we spent a lovely five or so hours with said company, followed by cleaning up. And now I'm telling you about it.
I'm telling you about it because our family life is pretty mundane. One of the biggest questions we get asked when we're talking about our family, or presenting at a conference, is "What is it really like to live in a multi-adult household?" The answer is pretty un-sexy, and not at all what people think it would be like. Living in a poly family isn't all that different from a living in a monogamous one. We still have to buy groceries, walk the dog, do laundry, cook meals and all the boring stuff that takes up much more time than anyone wants it to. We still have to make time for fun or chores would eat it all, even with the extra hands to get it all done. We still have to navigate interpersonal conflicts, process our shit and think about what we want our family to be. Yes, there's time for physical intimacy (emotional, too). We got our child the old-fashioned way. But that's certainly not the focus of our family. It's much more about the shared vision than anything else.
What makes my family atypical is that there are four of us living together in the same house. But aside from that, we're pretty normal. In that Western Massachusetts liberal earthy-crunchy hippy-ish kinda way, but still not all that different from most families. We go to work, raise our child, take care of our animals, putter around our home, goof off on the Internet, sleep, argue, laugh and love. Together.
That's why this is the first post. This blog is going to be about my family. And the most important thing I can tell you, right at the beginning, is that we are not as different from every other family out there. All of us are planning to contribute. I'm the writer in the family (actually get paid to do it! Not much, but still!), so I'm first. And we're going to talk about our life together. We'll talk about our interests, from gaming, science fiction conventions, spirituality, energy work, politics, gender identity, LGBTQ issues and everything in between. Like I said, we're complicated. And I hope you'll enjoy our musings. But the most important thing to remember is that we're not as different as you might think. Of course, we're going to do our best to demonstrate otherwise. But that's a different thing entirely.