Archive for April 2010

Mama at the Movies: Sperm Donor X

I’m working on a trilogy of related columns right now, covering three documentaries about different paths to motherhood and changing attitudes toward how we become mothers. The first, Adopted, looked closely at two families who adopted daughters from China. The third column, on the documentary Sunshine, will explore one family’s history of single motherhood. And the second column, on Deirdre Fishel’s film, Sperm Donor X, is up now at Literary Mama. Here’s an excerpt:

I must have been in second grade when I first thought about how old I would be in the year 2000 — 32 — and what my life would be like by then. Basing my vision entirely on my mom’s life, I assumed I’d be married with four kids.

I didn’t spend the intervening years fretting about the gap between that vision and my reality — milestone birthdays came and went without a husband, and at some point I realized I didn’t really want four kids — but by the time the ball dropped in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, 1999, I was engaged and on the way to a more realistic vision for myself. These days, when I’m helping Eli find dress-up clothes for his stuffed dog’s wedding or discussing the rate for a night in Ben’s space hotel, I sometimes pause to marvel that this has become my life, a life I could never have imagined when I was the age my oldest is now.

I’m lucky that my childhood dream adjusted easily to my adult reality. I’m lucky that I didn’t have to give up one dream for another, or struggle to get the family I wanted. That struggle, and that difficult adjustment to an unanticipated reality, is the undercurrent of Deirdre Fishel’s documentary, Sperm Donor X (2002), which follows four women, including the filmmaker herself, who want to become mothers and find themselves unexpectedly doing it on their own, with anonymous sperm donors.

You can read the rest over at Literary Mama. The film hasn’t been released yet, as the filmmaker still needs to raise funds to license archival footage. If you’d like to help, consider making a donation at Kickstarter.

The Literary Mama Pajama Party Reading

Come out and join me, Lisa Harper, and Nicki Richesin reading some of our favorite springtime picture books! We’ll be at Books, Inc., Laurel Village on Thursday, May 6th, at 6 PM. The bookstore supplies the popcorn, we supply the stories, you supply the kids.

More details here.

Doggie’s Wedding

As I have written before, Eli cares for his stuffed animals quite devotedly. Like any good parent, he tucks them into bed at night and makes sure they’re cozy, he throws birthday parties for them, and worries about their eating habits.

Big Doggie, the biggest of the stuffies, is also the oldest of the stuffies and recently we learned that he has a job. Every night at bedtime, Big Doggie eats a snack from his new bowl and heads off to his job, typing on the computer and talking on the phone (happily he doesn’t leave the bed, and the work seems not to interfere with Eli’s repose). So I shouldn’t have been surprised the other day when Eli announced that Big Doggie was getting married. “Who is he marrying?” I asked. It was a stumper. Eli glanced around his bed, then ran to the basket of other stuffies and started pawing through the pile. He pulled out the stuffed snowman Ben made at a friend’s house a couple years ago and held it up, laughing. “Big Doggie can’t marry the snowman; he would melt!” He rejected the kangaroo, the otter, the two frogs, duck and many others before finally coming to a dachshund about half Big Doggie’s size. Right behind that one there was a smaller dachshund. “Perfect!” Eli crowed, “A bride and a baby!”

So, we had the players, but then Eli realized we needed a wedding feast. “Cookies! Chocolate chip cookies!” Easy enough, and more fun when I remembered that we have lots of cookie cutters to make the wedding dessert more special. We picked out three dogs (a lab like Big Doggie and two different dachshunds), a bone and a heart. We picked flowers from the garden.

We dressed the happy couple in special outfits, including collars for their wedding rings, and we deptutized the mooses as ring bearers:

The preparations wound up taking a couple days, as we kept getting interrupted by little details like school and bedtime, but when you figure how long engagements tend to be these days, and how expensive weddings can be, I think we did pretty well. And afterward, the happy couple jetted off to Hawaii (under a living room chair) for their honeymoon, while the rest of us finished off the wedding feast.