Posted in Rife

What is Love?

I guess you could say I’m pretty counterculture. Queer, trans, poly: I stopped living by societal norms quite a while ago. I’ve talked about this before, about how beginning to question some of the expectations placed upon us can lead to questioning all of them. There’s a certain narrative about life that we’re sold, and it always leads –  me to think of the caricature of the middle-aged straight married couple who just h a t e each other. They’ve done everything by the book, and they’re just absolutely miserable.

That was never the life I wanted for myself, so I started asking questions.

Sometime in the past year or so, a question came into my psyche that I hadn’t considered before: What is love? (Are you singing along? …Yeah, me either…..)

Now, okay, bear with me. I know it sounds a little basic. We’re getting there. 

It came about through circumstance. Ali and I were discussing the difference between platonic and romantic relationships, and she admitted she wasn’t sure for her that there was one. This was a totally novel idea to me at the time; yet again, I encountered an assumption I’d carried: that these were two separate feelings. She pointed out how we often want to take care of our friends in the same way we want to care for our partners, how they become a part of our family.

It took me some time to find the security I needed to begin teasing out what this meant for me and for us. I asked myself if the line of demarcation between platonic and romantic feelings was something real and inherent, or a facade passed down onto me. What, if anything, separated the two for me? And if they are different, what makes them so?

They say the secret to a successful marriage is to marry your best friend. And though a marriage is marked by a much looser set of physical boundaries, many of the same emotional tendencies are still there: if they are sick, would you not care for them? If they are sad, would you not console them? If they are hungry, would you not feed them? 

In a way, asking ourselves these questions helped lead Ali and I to polyamory and thus, to Adam. Polyamory doesn’t require you to label a relationship, but rather to simply respect the boundaries of everyone in it. Each relationship is unique, marked by different feelings and intimacies. It’s less about the question of whether or not friendships become romantic, and more about asking if this question matters at all. Labels become less and less relevant.

Ultimately, these are just people we love, and it doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that.

Posted in Ali

Welcome Home, Serenity

Well loves, it happened. We’ve got our bus home. 

But not without some bumps in the road (both literally and figuratively) of course.

She’s a 2000 Freightliner Bluebird and she’s the most beautiful damn bus you’ve ever laid your eyes on. 

We left at 6am to drive up to Indiana and after a very eventful morning, arrived at around 11. We only looked at one bus- it was love at first sight. At one point the guy who was selling her to us asked if I was caressing the bus, and the boys quickly responded with, “of course she is.” 

So Adam is the one who’s brave enough to drive this thing. We decide that we’re going to lead and he’s going to follow us home. Of course being the nervous wreck I am, I don’t take my eyes off of him for the first hour. We had to pull over at one point because a gauge was reading hot, but it turned out to just be a faulty gauge. Just needed to be tapped real good a couple times before the needle popped back up to normal.

Unfortunately it wasn’t that simple the second time we had to pull over.

I finally relax enough to look ahead at the road for a few minutes, then glance back to realize Serenity is not behind us. We kept waiting for cars to move around us (we were going 50 in a 70) to see if they had just fallen behind. Then came the text: “Guys, this is not good.”

Panic ensues. Adam FaceTimes us to show us the green liquid that has exploded all over the engine bay (bye bye coolant) and the radiator hose that is now inside out. Serenity is now stranded on the side of the highway, steaming, and we have no idea what to do. 

Luckily we had a friend and fellow buslifer with us who thought to call the guy from MacAllister’s (where we bought the bus). Long story short: if you ever need to buy a bus, call Ron. Seriously, he saved our butts. Not only did he drive out of his way to get the only hose in the entire state of Indiana that would fit, but he then drove the hour and a half to Adam with tools to install it and refill the coolant. Saved us at least $1,000! We have decided to send him Christmas presents for the rest of our lives. 

Serenity was back on the road around 6pm and she was still two hours from home. According to Adam, he only drove her off the road once. 

Today we started ripping the seats out. Most of the bolts have been easily wrenched out, but a few bolts have needed the use of an angle grinder. And let me tell you, if you’ve never seen a cute boy using an angle grinder, you are missing OUT.

We got some unexpected help from a handsome kitten and spent the better part of the afternoon settling into a groove and getting a process going. 

But my absolute favorite part of the day was eating lunch together in the back of the bus. She already feels like home, and I was giddy being there with my two loves and a cheeseburger. Life doesn’t get much better than that. 

We are so excited to have started this journey, and we promise to keep you guys updated as she comes together.

And in the words of the great Captain Malcolm Reynolds 

“You can learn all the math in the ‘Verse, but you take a boat in the air that you don’t love, she’ll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you she’s hurtin’ ‘fore she keens. Makes her a home.”

Welcome home, Serenity. 

Posted in Ali

Countdown to Bus Life

So we’ve decided: We’re living on a bus.

Currently we’re in the final stages of choosing the right skoolie, and of spending every waking minute studying and learning all we can about the beginning steps. We talk about it, dream about it, plan and plan and plan. We are itching to get started, to get our hands on it and work.

This we know of our new home so far: It’ll be a full sized school bus, and her name will be Serenity, after the beautiful cargo ship on Firefly. If you’ve ever seen the show, I’m gunning to be Kaylee. It’ll be just as full of love and pictures and tea as our current home is now.

But until we have photos of our new beauty and the progress we’re making, I want to tell you the why that led us here. If you are like most of us twenty-somethings, you understand the struggle of living paycheck to paycheck, and then spending most of that paycheck on rent. Saving up for your dreams (of which we have many) is damn near impossible. You get stuck in this rut of making money only to spend it on the things you need to keep making money. It’s exhausting, and it wears you down mentally and physically.

So here’s the pro of the bus: no rent. Other than maintaining the bus, we will have solar electric and run our own plumbing, and the main thing we will be spending money on is internet. We can travel at will, live with only the essentials, and save money for land. And that’s our big dream: a beautiful stretch of earth to claim as our own. To carve out a home for us and ours, a place full of plants and love and hard work. We can roll our moving home right up on it and get our hands in the dirt.

We want a few acres in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by stars and trees and sunshine. We want to grow food and babies and stories. I’m a small town farm girl at heart and it’s all I’ve ever ached to have. We can cook around a big fire at night, laughing and passing around beer and mead and wine. I even look forward to the days that are too hot or too cold and we fall asleep so exhausted we can barely stand anymore. I want to dance under a huge harvest moon, shirtless and wild and drunk on the warm air. I want to ready the land for winter and rest with the seasons. I want to know when it’s going to rain by the way the air tastes.

Right now we are in the middle of a city. You can hear the cars and the people still restless and running in the dead of night. You can’t see the stars through the lights that never turn off. It’s all too loud and too big and too much.

I dream of nights full of fireflies and days full of dirt smudged faces and being thawed out by the sun. This bus is one giant step in that direction. And we are in the countdown days to making that dream come true.

We will document this journey here, every step. We couldn’t be more excited.

Posted in Rife

Life Outside the Lines

I threw my parents their first curveball in college: mom. dad. I’m gay. It was the first time I’d brought home anything resembling real disappointment, but saying it made me feel freer, if anything. Since then, I’ve thrown them several more, each a little more divergent than the last: I’m transgender. I’m poly. At this point, the only thing they can be sure to expect from me is the unexpected.

There’s something incredibly freeing about that. Having stepped off the yellow brick road, why, there’s anywhere you can go. And, like frayed hem, the whole thing starts to come apart. Once the questioning began, the floodgates could not be closed: Why must I adhere to gender roles designed to attract men? What is gender anyways? What defines sexuality? Why can’t I have more than one partner?

Crushed under a mound of debt and working an hourly wage job, I came to wonder, too: Doesn’t everyone deserve a real, living wage? Why must healthcare be so expensive? Who is being served by this economy? Why am I defined by my career? Is my labor the only thing I have to offer the world?

I guess my “why?” phase came about twenty-some years late.

So when Adam and Ali pitched their idea, let’s live on a bus, I didn’t want to reject it out of hand. Sure, it was crazy. But all three of us are a little crazy. We had to be, to arrive at this point in our lives. Had to stare down the barrel of a traditional life and turn away.

Now I’ll admit, strange as I am, I wasn’t quite crazy enough to love this idea right from the start. I thought about the lack of space, trying to fit all these bodies in 200 square feet. Everything that I would have to give up, like our giant couch or our beloved bookshelves.

But then, the more I thought about it, the more I loved it. Sure, there would be sacrifices. But once completed, our project would grant us a kind of financial freedom we’ve not known in adulthood. Freedom to save money, expand our businesses, purchase real estate, travel. We’d never be homeless.

So what if we’re the crazy queer poly triad with a bunch of dogs who live in a bus?

I like it.

Posted in Adam, Ali, Rife

Our Love in Motion

Hello loves! Instead of a regular blog post this week, we decided to get a little more personal. As much as we love writing about polyamory and all the different ways it can work, we want the main theme to be a little more intimate: the beautiful alchemy that is our triad. We hope you enjoy this video and that it gives you a little more insight into our family. (Featuring a Humane Society’s worth of dogs.)

Posted in Ali

Geeky Queer Saga, Part I – Clexa, Xena, and Bill, Oh My!

Let me start out by saying there is no way I can fit all of the amazing queer characters from science fiction and fantasy into one post. I asked for suggestions from friends and had so many wonderful responses. So, this is part one!

Geekery and the LGBTQ+ community go together like polyjuice and butterbeer. Like Kaylee and strawberries. Like Jack Harkness and literally anything that can consent. Just perfectly.

Both groups have spent at least some amount of time as an outcast, being misunderstood. I myself and a very proud member of both. I once went to a panel at DragonCon called “Queer Characters in the Who-Verse” and almost fainted of happiness. My heart has found a home at Hogwarts, in the shaky, wandering walls of the TARDIS, and in the quiet, calm warmth of a hobbit hideaway. But my first love will always be in that beautiful, broken-down cargo ship, Serenity.

In today’s post I wanted to look at some of our favorite LGBTQ+ characters in sci-fi and fantasy. 

L is for the ladies….especially Lexa

Let’s just be honest- Lexa made the hearts of many a fangirl flutter and swoon. I myself fell for that mysterious, dangerous, warrior woman. Who could resist those piercing eyes, that smirk that said she could kill you in a second and she knew it? But can we just talk about this picture for a minute?

Holy balls. No it’s cool- it’s just the heda of the grounders, the commander, on her knees. Begging for loyalty. I’m fine.

Moving on. The thing I love most about this universe is that no one even gives a second thought to Lexa and Clarke being a lesbian couple. It isn’t a big whoopty-doo when Clarke starts out the season loving Bellamy and ends up in the strong, muscular arms of Lexa. There is no uproar from the camp while sky children proclaim “but I thought you liked boyyys!?” Thank. God. It’s like they learn in the future that sexuality is fluid, bi people exist, and weirdly enough, it’s not a big deal.

On the absolute other end of the spectrum is Tara Maclay. Shy, quiet, and much less covered in daggers, this Buffy beauty was one of the first lesbian relationships to air on television. Their first kiss was the first LGBTQ+ scene I had ever witnessed, and I distinctly remember my southern baptist preacher father walking into the room and demanding I turn it off immediately.

Doctor Who has always been amazing about their cast of very diverse and occasionally very queer characters. The latest edition is the wonderful Bill, who tragically falls in love with a multidimensional lady water-monster. (But let’s be honest, who doesn’t have an ex that sounds exactly like that?) And of course we can’t forget Madame Vastra and her human wife Jenny Flint.

Nomi Marks is a character from Sense8 (which I sadly haven’t seen yet), and she is one of the only trans characters I could find in sci-fi/fantasy television. Ya’ll, why aren’t there more trans characters? From what I can gather from researching, her actual transition doesn’t occur during the plot, but there is some mention of it later on. She is engaged to the lovely Amanita Caplan.

Bo Dennis is a succubus from the world of Lost Girl. She is pretty non-discriminatory in her love, verging on a near poly relationship with wolfman Dyson and the sexy fae doctor Lauren. I love both the queerness of Lost Girl and the sex positivity the show provides. Not to mention, werewolves. Sexy, sexy werewolves.

And last but definitely not least, Xena. From the series Xena: Warrior Princess, she is a badass lady who is not-so-secretly in love with her companion Gabrielle. Even though it was never confirmed in the original series, it is said that Xena’s sexuality may finally be brought to light in a reboot.

Honorable mentions: no nerdy post would be complete without the mention of a few beautiful Firefly characters. The not-so-straight member of the crew, Inara, makes her debut with a woman on the episode “War Stories” with the Counsellor, saying she only sleeps with women who are “extraordinary.” You see a little bit of this side of her in “Our Mrs. Reynolds” when the sneaky and sensual Saffron tries to convince her to “take her into her shuttle” and very nearly succeeds before Inara realizes she is a no-good rotten liar.

In the next episode, our boys! From the definitely gay ones (hello Lafayette from True Blood and Renly Baratheon from Game of Thrones) to the ones that don’t give a damn either way, (Jack Harkness flirts with anything that moves and Deadpool is well…. Deadpool) we have some wonderful representation in these handsome hunks. Stay tuned for even more glorious queerness to come.

Posted in Ali

Queer Visability

The lesbian head nod. This was a right of passage I finally got after cutting off all of my hair, tattooing my chest, and wearing cargo shorts into Whole Foods. She was with her girlfriend, lazily picking through the kale, when I passed. Her hair was shorter than mine, she had a shirt that said “too queer for this shit,” and she nodded at me and smiled as I prodded every avocado in a three-foot radius.

This was a life changing moment for me.

I still remember the feeling of walking through the mall holding my girlfriend’s hand for the first time. I felt on top of the world and I almost wanted someone to say something so I could loudly and proudly tell them to suck it.

Coming from a small town where you did not come out, period, I did a complete 360 when I got to a bigger city. I traded my near waist-length hair and long skirts for a faux-hawk and seven different gay bumper stickers, one of which said, “sorry I missed church, I was busy practicing witchcraft and becoming a lesbian.”

When I came out, I came OUT. I went back to my hometown once in those first few years for a funeral and was told immediately by my dad, “for the love of all things holy, please act straight.” The next day I went to Pride in my new city with a rainbow painted across my forehead.

Being out was something I was incredibly proud of. After years of hiding in the closest, hating myself for who I loved, and letting everyone else tell me how to live my life, I was officially free to tell the world who I was. And as far as I was concerned, that was the most lesbian-y lesbian that ever existed.

Flash forward a few years, Rife and I had just gotten married. We went to a courthouse in Indiana because gay marriage wasn’t allowed here yet. We were sitting on the bed, discussing all of the logistics of his transition, and the doctor he would start seeing in a few weeks. There was never a moment we questioned him doing it. From the second he told me he wanted to transition, it was a done deal. His gender didn’t play a part in my love for him, and girl or boy I would always love him completely. There was only one single worry that ever crossed my mind: I was going to look straight.

I switched from saying I was a lesbian to saying I was queer, since technically my sexuality was now bi. And as the months went on, old people started smiling at us in restaurants again. There was a sweet old lady at our favorite breakfast spot that stopped on her way out the door to tell me how wonderful it was that I found myself a “good godly man” and to hang on to him.

Flash forward again to the wonderful life I now have. No matter which one of my beautiful boys I am out with, people see me as straight. My hair has grown out again, and even though I’m even more covered in tattoos, that doesn’t stop people from seeing what they assume about any strangers they see: they must be totally straight, normal people. We are far, far from normal, and we love every second of it.

 There may be many reasons why you want to be out and proud, or you may want no one to know at all, and neither of those is wrong. However, if there is a reason the world doesn’t see your queer side, and you really wish that they would, here are some things that might help:

  1. Connect with other queer people. Whether it’s in person, at meetings and support groups, or only online and anonymously, reach out to others who know the struggles that you do.
  2. If your family and friends can’t know, try to find just one person to be open with. There are no words for how freeing it is to finally say out loud, to someone else, “I’m gay.”
  3. Go to Pride. Put on your rainbow bandana, your “some chicks marry chicks” shirt, and strut your stuff.
  4. Stay connected to the community. Don’t feel like you are no longer welcome just because you’re dating someone of the opposite gender. This is how bi erasure happens.
  5. Put on the gayest outfit you have and go out for coffee. Go to the movies. Go buy some books. And be proud every time someone gives you that sideways glance of confusion.

Be proud of your beautiful, queer selves, friends. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you are anything less than the magical gods and goddess and gender-queer deities that you are.

Posted in Ali

How I Lost Religion and Found God

The Backstory

I was raised in that good ole, small town, religious atmosphere. Everyone you knew was a Christian, and if they weren’t it was okay, you were going to bring them a plate of spaghetti and the gospel after Wednesday night services. My dad preached, my mom had me baptized when I was in first grade. I went to church at least twice a week, attended a Christian school, and went on to a Christian college.

Scratch that. I followed a girl I was in love with to a Christian college.

I remember the first time my parents had asked about her, in that suspicious, slightly panicky way. They knew her well, as we spent almost every weekend together and every weekday talking on the phone after school. We had just returned from a church trip and I was sitting in front of my computer showing my mom all of the photos I had taken that weekend.

“And look at this one. Doesn’t she look cute?”

There was pure fear in her eyes.

Fast forward to college. I’m taking a couple theology classes, discussing different verses in their original Greek. I’m realizing that most of what I read growing up wasn’t actually correct. (Did you know there isn’t actually “hell” as we think of it mentioned anywhere in the Bible?) And on top of that I’m going to therapy. I have come to accept without a doubt that I like girls. So the only thing to do at that point was fix it. Spoiler alert: that didn’t work at all.

Following was a year of complete chaos. I was losing my faith, terrified of what that meant, and hating myself all while officially dating a girl for the first time. It was a year of secrets and fear and wishing I could just be “normal.”

The Breakdown

It’s two days after Christmas and my mom and I are wandering around in Macy’s. I’m home for winter break and therefore had seen the aforementioned girlfriend a few days prior. Not big on subtlety, she had left a hickey on my neck that I had been desperately trying to cover up with makeup since.

We were standing in the middle of all of the coats, and my mom reaches over and points to it. “So who gave you the hickey?”

I panic. I think of at least five different lies and try to decide which one she is least likely to suspect. And then I get a crazy idea: why not tell her the truth? Maybe it won’t go as badly as I think it will. So I muster up all of the courage I have and say, “I’ll tell you in the car.”

To say she cried the entire way home would be an understatement. There was complete sobbing, a lot of apologizing, and a few minutes of silence before the tears resumed. We sat in the driveway for a long time before she told me I had to tell my father. I walked in and hugged my little brother, cried on him like a baby for a few minutes, and then stood at the bottom of the stairs leading up to my parent’s room.

I remember every single step. I forced myself to breathe as I stared at each one, willing my feet to move.

We didn’t talk long. He gave me the ultimatum of “get help” or lose my family. Since I had already tried therapy, praying over and over to be different, and finally came around to accepting who I was; “getting help” wasn’t going to work. It was a terrible night, and I still can see the porch light fading as I drove my car and a bag of clothes to my girlfriend’s house.

The Breakthrough

It took me three whole years to finally escape the feeling that I was somehow inherently wrong. It’s hard to relearn and undo what you had been taught into adulthood. But with patience, lots of reading, and a few good cry sessions, I made it out on the other side. I met so many wonderful people – Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists – all who showed me religion does not make you a good person, your spirit does. I stopped living in shame and started loving out of joy instead of fear of an unknown and angry god. I read books about spiritualities that resonated with my soul and felt like home. I found home within myself.

The Beliefs

I still believe in a higher power: an energy, a life force. Every living thing: plants, animals, and people all have this divinity inside of them. I don’t believe you need to go to church to find god. I believe people are good, and that love is beautiful. I believe that telling people they will be eternally condemned if they don’t believe the way you do is wrong, and that taking care of each other is our duty on this planet. I believe each and every lifetime after this I will find my loves again, and that life is breathtaking.

For those of you in the same situation I was, things will get better. I know it’s scary, and you feel alone, but there is a light at the end of this tunnel. The rate of homelessness among LGBTQ+ youth is staggering. According to the True Colors Fund “In America, it is estimated that 1.6 million youth are homeless each year and that up to 40% of them identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.” That is an incredibly high percentage. 

There is nothing wrong with you. You are not evil, or corrupt. You are beautiful and divine, no matter who you love. It’s hard to know your worth when you grow up in an environment that tells you otherwise. If you are struggling, reach out. Whether it be to a trusted friend, a mentor, or even to us. Your life is precious and the world wouldn’t be the same without you.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Resources for LGBTQ Youth by State

Posted in Adam

How I Knew… I Was Polyamorous

I should have known I was polyamorous many years before I finally put the pieces together.

Looking back, the only reason I think I didn’t figure it out sooner is I just wasn’t exposed to the idea. I didn’t know that polyamorous was a thing that I could be. Most of us grow up conditioned to think that committed, long-term relationships between two people (usually between a man and a woman, specifically) are the ultimate goal and the truest relationship model. We are taught that anything else is somehow inherently less true and less valid.

I was lucky enough to have parents who didn’t really contribute to that “normal” vs. “other” conditioning, at least not in any intentional way. We talked a lot as I was growing up of being open-minded, questioning everything, and actively seeking new experiences and perspectives in life. A phrase I remember well from my parents during childhood is “weird is wonderful.” It was said loudly and often, teaching me to embrace any “otherness” type feelings I came across instead of being ashamed of them. I am intensely grateful for that phrase, even to this day. That being said, I was still vastly unaware of many life experiences. As open and accepting as my childhood was, I still didn’t get exposure to anything other than monogamy.

So I spent years in the dark.

For as long as I can remember having feelings of romantic love, I can also remember there being a lot of it.

As in, I have long had feelings of a love more vast and open than I understood. It was always beyond what I could fit into the only relationship structure I thought there was: Monogamy. Unfortunately for everyone I loved during that time, I didn’t understand those feelings. I kept trying to build meaningful relationships with the only blueprints I had, but that meant trying to trim away at myself so that the pieces would fit. Of course, all the relationships I tried to build that way were destined to crumble. Not because I didn’t love them, but because I was trying to love them in a way I wasn’t capable of.

Throughout my teenage years I struggled through relationship after relationship, always following a (now) recognizable pattern.  They would start off promising – full of energy and commitment – but they burned too hot and too fast and quickly turned to ash. I didn’t understand it. I had so much love to give, but I somehow kept making people feel like they weren’t enough. When I tried to love them in the way that made sense to them, it didn’t make sense to me. I would inevitably feel like I wasn’t being true to myself, and once that happened, the relationship was in its last days. I never tolerated not living my whole truth for very long, and I was always gone soon after.

Fast forward a few years (and a disappointingly high number of failed relationships) later.

When I finally learned what polyamory was, things very suddenly started to make sense. I realized there were other people out there who had feelings like mine and who still had loving, successful relationships. This knowledge launched me into a trip of self-discovery.

Those times were filled with many late nights spent logging hours at a time on the internet. I clicked my way through Google searches, polyamory articles, and support forums. I read story after story about all different kinds of relationships. Everyone navigated them slightly differently so as to make sure the structure worked for them. While most of the stories and relationship structures I read about still didn’t quite feel right to me personally, just knowing there was something more was instrumental in my growth. The blueprints for different relationship structures were within my reach.

It didn’t take me long to accept this new knowledge of myself.

It did, however, take some time for me to figure out how to put it into practice. I was in a 7-year, monogamous relationship at the time, and coming out to my partner was a disaster. Neither of us knew what we were doing, mistakes were made, and feelings were inevitably seriously hurt. The relationship ended shortly thereafter. Sadly, that relationship was already failing and had been for some time by then.  So before you ask: No, polyamory isn’t what killed it. The mess that resulted from my coming-out surely played a role in its last breaths, but polyamory itself isn’t to blame.

Now that I’ve found Rife and Ali, things are brighter, but ultimately I’m still on this journey. The way I see it, the journey never really ends, but I am comfortable and happy identifying as polyamorous now. I am especially comfortable and happy in this beautiful poly triad we have. I’ve never felt a love quite like this – so safe and supportive and unconditional.

My only words of advice?

Don’t wait as long as I did. I’ve learned that lesson multiple times now. Waiting – trying to bury the truth you feel in your chest – never turns out to be the right choice. Whether it’s polyamory, sexual orientation, gender identity, or anything else – just go for it! Research, embrace, and try the things that feel right. You’ll thank yourself for it.

Posted in Ali

Inanimately Poly

There are so many small details that make poly beautiful. Of course there are the big things like having two partners, having two people to come home to, having more in-laws and family than you know what to do with. But there are also the little things: the three cups of coffee sitting next to each other on the kitchen counter, three pairs of snowy shoes slowly creating dingy puddles by the front door. There are three different handwritings on the magnetic dry erase board on the fridge, and the dogs get to lose their minds three separate times a day as people come and go and get jumped on by excited paws and wagging tails. It’s a beautiful life we live.

We all occasionally forget to inform the others of what seeds we’re buying and end up with multiple packets of basil seeds lining the counter in preparation for spring. When one is sick the other two promptly make use of every burner on the stove- heating soup, warming the teakettle, boiling water mixed with eucalyptus oil to help the whole house breathe better. Occasionally one of the fur babies will forget that the fence is a rather stern suggestion and there are three voices yelling their name as we stomp around the neighborhood, promising to never let them off leash again if they don’t return immediately. There are extra lines added to the “emergency contact” section on doctors notes, extra socks missing pairs. There is so much love contained in this small Kentucky house.

And then there is the bullet journaling. There are so many pens, highlighters, stickers, sharpies, extra paper, things to trace, things we’ve started and never finished. With three of us we needed an entire tote to dedicate to corralling all of our extra supplies. There are two boys to steal shirts and hoodies from, two boys to threaten people with when they make unwanted moves in my direction. There are photos on every wall, succulents tucked away in every spot that gets sunlight. The bookshelves are packed with the childhood stories, multiple copies of all the Harry Potters, and bent covered editions of Jane Austen.

There are two “we love you! You can do it!” text responses when I’m having a bad day, two separate streams of highly applicable GIFS to every life situation. The couch is often covered in as many blankets as the bed to keep us all warm on movie nights. (Ryder needs to be tucked in too.) There are extra dishes to be done, extra laundry to fold, and extra minutes spent looking for lost wallets or phones. There are three of us to negotiate dinner (and if we make pasta again, Rife might take over dinner entirely), three people to debate whether or not to get gas on their way home. Three “goodnights!” as we all tuck in to go to sleep. Three different angles of the same sunset we’re watching. Three different views on the latest news.

Whoever said that two is company and three is a crowd was wrong. At our house, three is a family. Three is perfection. Three is the number of beings who will spend their lives together, carving out their own piece of paradise on this beautiful planet.