Monday, March 21, 2011

Raise Your Glass

The problem with a totally awesome event like the Choice Moms Workshop last Saturday is twofold. One, it was SO DAMN EXHAUSTING. Omg. So tired, still. And on so many levels. First, you meet all these totally awesome woman, so if you’re like me you are talking for basically 8 hours straight. And you have your kid there, so even though she’s with the fantastic Miss D for most of the time, you’re still popping over to the neighboring conference room to check on her and sneak Miss D Diet Cokes and brownies, and then drag the kid out to see the pretty dirty lake, and then go out with all the lovely ladies for a late dinner. And also, it’s emotionally exhausting, because at least 17 times during the event you burst into tears for VERY GOOD REASONS. Like, you meet very nice people who haven’t had their Jellybean yet and they start to cry, and they introduce themselves right after you introduced yourself all gloatily, and you realize you are a terrible, horrible, smug single mother, and that not all the people there are happy endings. Yet. And that makes you really, really sad, because there are some terrific people out there who should have a Jellybean, already, damnit. Just let them have one!

My happy ending. Effing adorable. Eating 114 lbs. of raisins while I'm in the workshop. A total rockstar celebrity, most people recognized her from the blog before they recognized me. Must post more pictures of me. In make up. Maybe get Glamor Shots done.

Two, you listen to a very nice speech from the very nice man from the California Cryobank. And he talks about how far banks have come, and the women talk about how reasonable the rates are, and you meet other absolutely adorable little donor babies, and the nice man gives you a free light-up sperm pen, and you meet another woman who has two kids on her own and you let yourself think – hmmm. Two. Light-up sperm pen! How can I argue with that! Seriously! If I moved to Canada, I’d get Canadian maternity benefits. I didn’t even THINK about that before Saturday. And that whole closer-to-my-parents-thing, right? Right?

Gah. It still doesn’t magically take 5 years off my almost-40. I don’t think 60 is a cool age to be fighting with a teenager, I think 60 is a cool age to be done paying for college and going on cruises. It’s interesting how people who have more than one are so hardcore about how important it is to have siblings; it’s just yet another parenting decision that can really split the camps. I would love to have a sibling for Jelly, but I don’t think she’s going to be a lesser person or worse off without one, and while I admire those who are able to do it, I shudder at the thought of feeding and bathing two small people without any help. Especially if Jenny is going to be three for a whole year. But oh, man, was it ever tempting to take one of those damn flyers.

See, I don't look almost-40, right? Ugh, I was tired already and it was barely 1p, who am I kidding.

So it was great to finally meet Mikki, one of the founding mothers of the Choice Moms movement and a terrific inspiration and resource for single-moms-to-be. There’s not a whole lot out there for us, or at least there wasn’t 10 years ago when I first started looking, and one of the reasons there are now Meetups and movies and reality TV shows (yes, there are several in the works, we’re told) is due to the work of tireless women like her, who travel around talking to women about what they can do in their lives and their communities, helping them find the strength and the resources to make their dreams come true. How many people can say they do THAT for a living?

Mikki is the one standing up. She's awesome. Go buy her book if you or anyone you know is considering the single mom path, or just to confuse people.

I have to admit, though, that as great as the workshop sessions were, my favorite part of the day was the dinner event, when over a dozen of us hauled our brood to a local eatery and blocked every safe exit with a variety of strollers and musical instruments (you don’t mess with single moms, we are very busy and very hungry). I am pretty sure that one of my dining companions hollered ‘live action sperm roll play’ or ‘orgasm’ pretty much every single time the waitstaff came near us – I adored her, and wanted to hang out with her forever. And the lovely English girl, raised by a single mum, now on the single mum path herself. And the woman across from me, watching country after country close as she tries to get paperwork completed to adopt…

Yes, Jellybean makes me insane. Yesterday, driving home from The Wal-Mart, where she made me buy $150 in flowers for the front yard that she then refused to help me plant, she asked what was for dinner. I told her we were making delicious Thai Drunken Noodles, which she loves. ‘What in dat?’ little precious asked. ‘Um, peppers and onions and noodles and chicken?’ I said cautiously, aware I was walking into a trap but unsure what it was. ‘Ohhhhhh I don’t like chicken! Too yucky!’ sobbed Jelly hysterically. ‘YOU ARE A CRAZY PERSON!’ I screeched back, totally unhinged instantly, ‘You LOVE chicken! You LOVE Drunken Noodles!’ She proceeded to cry. So I turned on the radio, which is my new thing when she has a tantrum in the car, because it just makes her more angry since she knows she’s being ignored. Of course they were playing ‘Raise Your Glass’, because my favorite radio station is apparently sponsored by Pink, so I cranked it and sang along very loudly and poorly while Jellybean screamed and bawled at the top of her lungs and I occasionally hollered in the direction of the backseat, ‘You are crazy!’ until she eventually said, ‘Ok, I stop cwyin’, mama’, very tearfully and somewhat angrily. And then asked for seconds at dinner. BECAUSE SHE IS CRAZY.

But I love her very, very much. And I tell her so every single day. And I am grateful for her every single day. And Saturday’s event was a nice reminder of that, you know, in case I was tempted to forget.


Happy Single Mother's Day to all you single mothers out there, no matter how you got that way. Happy Single Mother's Day to all you single ladies who are trying to be mothers, considering being mothers, or are on your way to becoming mothers.

Here, here.


DannieA said...

How exciting. I'm contemplating going to the one in LA in July.

Glad you had a blast.

bunintheovenplease! said...

It was so wonderful to meet you both, and hear your words of wisdom. Have to say though I am kind of relieved I find am not too visible in your photos!
best wishes XOX

Shannon said...

Again, I'm so bummed that I missed it! I didn't go because it was supposed to be my sister and nephew's birthday celebration day....only they rescheduled to Friday and forgot to tell me, until I already had plans on Friday that I couldn't back out of.

I'm glad you all had a great time!

A Shadow of My Former Self said...

I am also contemplating going to the one in LA. It looks like an amazing experience!

Ramona said...

So glad that you enjoyed the event - as exhausting as it is!! I attended the Atlanta Choice Moms event in Oct '09 (Mikki even stayed with me), 2 weeks after I relocated here with two little ones, an au pair who was pregnant and going home, and the search for a new one before vacation ended. Whew - the things we go through for single momhood! I hear ya about temptation about t42. Sometimes I wonder how I will survive - but I do - and I'm loving it. I love that they have each other since there were five of us growing up. Nice post and pics! Thanks!

Choice Mom said...

Thanks for the wonderful synopsis, Cathi. As ever, great voice that I'm glad is out there for the community to share. I've posted a link on our Choice Mom Facebook page. And anyone interested in future events (we're doing 4-5 more this year!) can find details under EVENTS menu at

RAMONA: so good to see your face here. There were two women from Georgia at the event, and we're going to create something in Atlanta again....more like a coffeehouse gathering this time, not a workshop per se. I hope you and the girls are doing well. I know how much (outside) stress you've been handling!