I never would have believed that getting up on a stage in front of 300 people and reading “The Secret Life of Mr. Potato Head” about a child masturbating with a vibrating toy would have flown. But it did.
And the stories of the other thirteen women who shared the stage with me, one at a time, flew too. We rocked the role of motherhood right off that stage and into the hearts and minds of those who listened. We talked about poo, and pee, and puke (requisites, all) and flight attendant voices when we wanted to scream. Our stories pondered our own mothers having sex (ew!), the need for the term neo-mom, the secrets that mothers and daughters keep from one another, and the elation when a mother’s gay children finally have the right to marry. We talked about how sad we were when our bodies tired from years of starving ourselves to be thin, refused to concieve, the grief of divorce burning into a flame bright and hot enough to forge gold with our ex in order to create a new way of being with our child. We raved about exhaustion and how we need to stop being mean to other women and trust we are goddesses all, and how losing a birthmother and finding her again is a gift that is worth the journey. We refused to accept “Your hands are full” as anything but the beauty of “My heart is full, too.” We shared our fears about post-partum anxiety, and the relief of discovering one isn’t alone; the messy beauty of finding out one is pregnant and the love of a stepfather who hugs us and says, “I’ll go tell your mom,” and we laughed, and the crowd laughed with us over the humor of teaching our children to swear, only to have them shouting “HUCK!” while trying to pull a tooth from their mouth in the middle of Fred Meyers.
Motherhood has been forever. Our stories lit up the stage for one fine day. It was beautiful.