Our lives feel like a constant juggling marathon. Before Freckles came along we had three balls in the air - relationship, kids, job. Since she has been in our lives, I think we are juggling twice as many balls, maybe three times as many.
One of the balls I'm trying to keep in the air that concerns me a great deal lately is named "managing kids' perceptions". Now, we aren't naive or stupid. We knew from the very beginning that the entire ruse of us being in separate rooms and coming and going through the adjoining closet was nothing more than a way of stalling. This was us buying time so that we could come up with a more permanent solution.
The problem is that our kids aren't stupid either. Oldest is a nearly fifteen years old, and we already know damned well that we aren't fooling her. I see the looks she gives us, and while she might not know the exact details... she is aware that there is something more to her parents relationship with Freckles than what we are letting on. The good thing with this is that she is extremely close to Freckles. The two of them are both anime fans, they both play the clarinet, they both like the same books... the list goes on and on. The dynamic between the two of them from the very beginning has been a strange hybrid between a much older sister and something of a hip young aunt. Freckles has this knack for coaxing my low self esteem daughter out of her shell in a way I have never seen before, and we love her all the more for it.
So Oldest definitely is aware of something that isn't being said, but I don't think she totally understands the whole truth of it. (Though I keep in mind that it's very likely she knows more than we would like her to.) It's Middle that I'm a little bit more concerned about. She's not a teen yet, but she's very close, and she doesn't have the same quick and easy friendship dynamic that Freckles and Oldest have. Freckles and Middle have been a tiny bit standoffish from the very beginning. Middle is our daughter that is bound for a period of rebelliousness... While Oldest has always been an open book to us with everything, Middle is secretive and more difficult to predict. We have already dealt with multiple instances of Middle saying "Why does Freckles get to tell us what to do? Who put her in charge??" or something to that effect. There is definitely trouble brewing on that horizon.
Youngest? She isn't old enough yet to care. She adapted easily to the new member of the household. She's got her Nintendo 3DS, all is well with the world.
I guess the issue we are having right now, is how are we going to address this with our kids. And by extension, how are we going to address this with the rest of our families? Because as soon as our kids know, we need to have the battle plan for dealing with our families, because the secret can't hold for long when the kids know. As I had pointed out before... my family? minor problems, but manageable. Freckles' family? no problem. Curls' family? huge fricken problems.
Curls' parents are very likely to do ANYTHING. They are deeply religious and will absolutely view our lifestyle as both sinful and negative. They are not above trying to wrest control of our kids away from us. We are already developing a scorched earth scenario where we circle the wagons and cut them off from ALL contact with us, permanently if necessary.
This is going to be the first serious test of our relationship.
Me - 37 years old male, father of three wonderful girls.
Curls - 33 years old female, My wife of fifteen years.
Freckles - 22 years old female, our awesome girlfriend.