Star is an active member of the poly community and beyond. She writes articles about poly life in her family as well as advocates for alternative choices in other communities. Her work has opened the minds of people across the globe on accepting and celebrating differences of others. Her talents are widespread, not only does she write for a parenting website, educates 2 of her 5 children at home and is one of 4 parents in her household, she also loves to spend time sculpting, designing websites and helping others with spiritual guidance.

Previous editions of this column can be found in the Monthly Columns Archives.

The New Foundation

I am Star, one of four adults in our poly family. My partners are, Mr. Fixit, who is our Household Handyman, Miss Fiction, who loves to curl up with a fiction book and read it cover to cover in less than a day, Mr. Music, who composes, produces and performs, and also teaches music to children!

I am the mother to 5 beautiful children. Two of who are grown Ė Miss Independence, age 20 and The Actress, age 19, live on their own in separate parts of Oregon with their partners. My 13 year old son, The Gamer, lives with his father in North Carolina. We have two sons, The Teen (m), age 15 and Little Aries (m), age 7, who live with us.

Our blended family is quite new as a cohabitating group, we have only been living together since October 27th of this year, however, we have taken two years to get to this point, not even knowing that this was the result we were working toward. Itís rather funny, really, the way this all came together. I know that two years ago, heck even four years ago, when I met Mr. Music online, we hadnít a clue that this is where our journey would lead us.

About 4 years ago, I belonged to a group on live journal of poly pagan type folks. I wasn't very active in the group, but did post responses once in a†while, and found that if I hadn't responded, then another member did, with similar responses to what I would post - this member was Mr. Music. I found the perspective and choice of words to be fascinating and downright brilliant, and most times, very wise. I had no idea the gender of this person, at the time, but remained intrigued.

Before long, I found myself searching out this person's journal and read some of the most interesting viewpoints. It was then that I asked if I could add this person as a friend. I found that this person was male, and I thought he would be a great L.J. friend to converse with, share thoughts, ideas and perspectives with.

He was growing in his own way, while I continued on my own spiritual journey, blogging what I learned and listening to what others had learned. I dropped out of that group, but kept Mr. Music on my journal. Once in a while, he would post a response to something I wrote, and even rarer were the times when I responded to him, however, we still kept each other on our journal lists and continued to grow along our paths, unaware of any possibility of ever meeting.

I learned that he was a brilliant and talented musician, and I became interested in owning some of his work. I contacted him about this in late 2004. We exchanged personal information, and I ended up calling him in January of 2005. I planned a week to spend some time exploring the Portland area, and to pick up our oldest son from the airport in Middle February, 2005. I posted my plans to my live journal and asked that anyone who wanted a visit from me, to let me know and I would make arrangements. Mr. Music responded. We made plans to meet on February 12th. That first meeting was fabulous! We ended up hanging out together all day, and honestly, it was like two life long friends, just catching up after a long separation.

The first year was filled with growth, and a lot of it. I have had many friendships in my lifetime, and most of them were learning experiences, which prepared me for the complexity and the needed understanding I would have to use for the first year of the OLT Adults. While my first interest was indeed to spend time with Mr. Music, strengthening our friendship and finding what energy was drawing us so close to each other, I also knew from experience, that I would not be able to explore this new relationship unless I had the trust of his partner, Miss Fiction. After I spent some time with her, I realized that I really liked her and wanted to become her friend. I only hoped that she would want to build a friendship with me as well.

The first year was hard. I tried my best to keep the focus of my emotional connection with Miss Fiction, as positive as I could.† There were times, when I wanted to scream at her, because I was frustrated by her resistance to change, or a jealousy issue, or a tantrum I saw. I tried not to vent this energy at her, because I could also see where it was coming from. She had been burned really bad, hurt beyond belief and it was difficult for her to see that this time would be different.

It was difficult to work through issues with Mr. Fix-It as well. He was battling jealousy, uncertainty and his own resistance to change and growth. I knew that no matter how hard it seemed, I couldn't give up. I had to keep growing too. I had to learn new tools, new relationship tools, new communication tools, new coping tools... new tools! And I had to learn how to use them!

Mr. Fix-It and Miss Fiction's best ally was the relationship Mr. Music and I have with each other. When one of us were frustrated and needed to vent, the other would listen and take the "devil's advocate" position. Mr. Music and I would take turns helping each other find our tools to deal with the partner we were having an issue with. most of the time, it was ourselves having the issue, and we had to learn how to change the way we felt, thought, acted and said things, in order to see, feel, hear and love our partners through all the hard spots in this first year. During these venting-tool gathering-calming-each-other-down sessions, Mr. Music and I learned more about each other's domestic partners, and about ourselves.

For me, I learned how to appreciate Miss Fiction and Mr. Fix-It's strengths, and find how to support them as they grew and learned new tools. I learned that I have to learn the language that speaks to my partners the best, so they can hear what I have to say. I learned how to listen to what they were saying, in their language, so I could understand them and let them know I heard them. I learned how to hold their sacred space and be compassionate, caring and calming in a way which they responded to and felt love from me, the best. I learned how to trust them. Trust that we can work through anything and make it out on the other side a little wiser, a little closer and a lot happier. I learned how to nurture myself and my family, as well as the relationships that have grown out of the first year together.

I learned a lot about myself. I learned how to use the art of transformation in order to let go of the old and embrace the new. I learned how to nurture myself and be patient with not only myself, but also my partners, in the growth and experiences needed for that growth. I learned how to gather the tools I need to continue on my path to self discovery, and continue to grow with my partners in our relationship. I learned how to take time for me, if I need to, and even if I don't need to. I learned how to retreat into myself to find the answers, instead of seeking them from outside sources. I learned how to take my spiritual self and integrate it in my life, as a part of my everyday self, instead of separating things into compartments. I learned how to use introspection in a healthy way. And to share what I learned after I reflect on the moment. I learned that if I work hard enough and be patient, and all the things above, my dreams will come true. I learned to embrace the unknown. To let go of past hurts and past experiences, and to draw wisdom to avoid those kinds of situations by being an active part of my life in the NOW, instead of use them as crutches or set backs. I learned how to laugh at myself, my mistakes and my follies.

This last year has been a whirlwind of various lessons that we all had to learn. We spent most of the year - about 9 months - preparing to cohabitate with each other, here in Southern Oregon. Mr. Fix-It and I had asked Miss Fiction and Mr. Music to be "Spirit Parents" to our sons, The Teen and Little Aries. They agreed and we began our journey into becoming a family.

Like all blended families, we had a lot of concerns before we took the final steps to blend the two households together. Who would sleep where? What if someone wants to sleep and others want to spend pillow time with each other? Who would be in charge of chores? Finances? The boys' education? How would we deal with parenting disagreements? How could we keep the kids from playing us against each other? How would we explain this to our friends and family? What if we feel left out? What if ... Who will.. How can we...†† These questions kept coming up. Whenever those issues arose, we came up with solutions and options, and did our best to support each other through our growing and learning about how we would make this all work. The more we talked, the more we all became comforted by each other and understood that we all have the same goals in mind and since all four of us had been in previous unhealthy poly relationships in the past, we knew how to avoid those issues, by making sure they didn't become problems, simply through honest, open communication. The one thing that poly people preach - we actively perused with vigor.

I'm not saying we are perfect by any means - that would be a total fantasy! We all have emotional breakdowns sometimes, and everyone supports each other through those moments. We all get angry once in a while, and can be a little grumpy. We are all working on those things that need growth and are helping each other through whatever comes up.

October 27th, 2006 we all became a blended family. That was moving day, the day when we hauled everything that could fit in two small trailers, down to Southern Oregon, from Beaverton. It was the first day of this part of our journey.

The last two months have been filled with settling into a new life; new routines, new rules, new habits. During this time, some amazing discoveries have been uncovered. In a lot of ways, this feels like we have always lived together, because everything just flows, from morning routines to dinner time laughter and beyond. The adjustment period didnít take long, and we pat ourselves on the back for laying the foundations so well, before we blended.

It didnít take long for Miss Fiction to land a job, working 8-5 like she wanted, with weekends off and real breaks Ė something she didnít have with her job up north. Mr. Music was welcomed into the music community and is working on gathering band members to play with, in addition to composing and playing open-mic opportunities around the valley. He was also offered the chance to teach music to children at a private school in the area, and is looking forward to starting that adventure after the Winter holidays.

The Teen and Little Aries adore the new life and seem much happier, and well adjusted to having four parents available to them, although it is much harder for them to get away with anything, having four sets of eyes to keep watch over them Ė and that amuses us to no end!

Mr. Fix-It is a light sleeper, so he is still transitioning with four people in the bedroom, but with a little naturopathic medicine, he has been able to get to sleep a lot easier and in time, we are sure he will adjust just fine.

I am more relaxed and am thankful to have the extra hands to help with the daily house schedule, and raising the boys. I especially enjoy that there is always someone to cuddle with, or talk to when I need them.

Life is good! Our Little Tribe is thriving and we are all looking forward to the opportunities around the next corner in 2007!

Blessings to all for the Winter Holidays!!

Star is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. She can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.

Star ; December 23, 2006

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