Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Describing relationships

When I'm not blogging in here regularly, it usually means I'm distracted by all that life has to offer, both good and bad. On Friday, one of those bad things happened, as Bee was attacked and bitten several times by a large dog she was training. She suffered multiple bite wounds on her right arm and had to be taken to the hospital for a tetanus shot. She's going to be out of work for a week, recovering on workman's comp, which also means she can't drive her company car, which is her only means of transportation right now.

So to help out and get her to her doctor's appointment tomorrow, I'm taking Wednesday through Friday off work, which also gives me an opportunity to read my copy of Eclipse, the third book in the Twilight Saga which arrives today. Between reading that, my incoming Lucifer books and watching the rest of Season One of Heroes on library DVD, I should have plenty to occupy my free time over the next several days.

When I told my office I was taking time off to help a family member, I did get some queries about my relationship with Bee, i.e. was she my cousin? This is one of the few times I have had to deal with my new poly lifestyle in public, because usually I keep work and private life scrupulously separate, other than using my Blackberry. One thing I haven't found in poly is an adequate description of family roles that mirror those found in biological families. I normally think of Tara as my mate (an easy-to-use, non-gender specific term) and if she thought about it in those terms, she would probably describe me as her girlfriend, lover or (ideally) co-mate. But I don't really have an adequate term to describe my relationship to Bee.

We are not sisters or cousins, and it would be wrong to say we are. We are at once more and less than girlfriends - more because we consider each other family, less because we don't have that kind of BFF-type of relationship where we are completely comfortable with each other and can talk about anything. There really doesn't seem to be a word that can adequately describe my relationship to Bee (and Bug) that - without completely outing myself - would be understandable to the poly-layperson who doesn't even know what "primary" and "secondary" mean. So the best I can come up with is that they are all members of my intentional family, which seems to resonate with most people. If we're lucky, we all have two families: the one you are born with, and the one you choose; the unintentional and the intentional. This also works well since I'm not public with my sexual orientation at work, either.

So I had a very relaxing weekend with my family, with our usual movies (The Da Vinci Code on Saturday night, The Incredible Hulk on Sunday afternoon), swimming, Yankee baseball (playing the Houston Astros) and Saturday night dinner. I did get a little melancholy on Sunday morning when I was alone, which spilled into Sunday night just a bit, but nothing serious. I am trying my best to stay in the present and not let fear of being in pain ruin the brief moments Tara and I have together. I know that sounds really emo, but like I said, it's not serious.