February 9, 2021
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Z

Happy Birthday K!

February 9, 2021

I’d like to wish a sincere happy birthday to our dearest K. As an avid reader of this blog, I hope she won’t mind if I wax poetic about her for a bit in this post.

K is one of Z’s assistants and one of our best friends. At times, she feels like a third person in our partnership. In fact, our partnership would certainly not exist without K. K introduced Z to the podcast, that led him to the word, that led him to the corner of the internet where we met. She’s popped into our facetimes, always lent a listening ear, and driven cross state to get me so that I could see Z. As my relationship with Z has developed, so too has my relationship with K.

K is not Z’s only assistant/caretaker. Indeed, there are a number, and his team members have become my friends here in Ithaca. Despite moving to Ithaca mid-Covid, a time when I was already maintaining my friendships digitally, leaving the familiarity of my family was somewhat frightening. I’ve lived on my own before -- for work, for school -- but this time I was moving in with Z, establishing new dynamics, and not just with him, but with his entire care-team.

And there is a very specific dynamic to navigate with that team. Though I consider Z and my apartment to be just that: Z and my apartment, it is also a workplace for his carers. That means there is not much time for me to dance around the house nude without anyone seeing, or sing to myself without anyone hearing. And Z and my intimacy is often subject to the watchful gaze of his team. Before living with Z, I was not very comfortable with PDA, now most of my DA is P.

What’s wonderful about Z’s team is that Z’s team is wonderful. Each person on it is kind, helpful, interesting, and always willing to give advice as to how to pass as an adult. At times, I have to remind myself that K and the team are there to help Z, not to be my friends. But friends they have become, very helpful friends who shop and give us rides and help make Z’s life easier and have accepted me into their routine with grace.

I’m so grateful to have Z’s team around. I am so grateful to be able to focus on being a girlfriend and know that people are there to take care. I’m so grateful that they make extra oatmeal for me in the morning, and hand me my glasses when I wake up, and leave the hoyer lift out of the shower when I say I want to use it. Z is very lucky and so am I. And to K -- our cuddle captain, photographer, a champion of our relationship, and my puzzle partner – a very, very happy birthday!

~R

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