He is 22 and blonde, blue-eyed and tall. He’s 6" 3' to be exact, but he weighs only 140 pounds.
Olaf’s swimmers arrived Fedex (packed in dry ice) seven days before I actually ovulated. (The container was beige and heavy with old routing bills stuck here and there.) It sat for a time in my kitchen beside its American cousin, the mid-sized garbage can. There’s a strong family resemblance—they’re the same width, and they both have a round domed lid—but the garbage can is a little taller, standing a full three feet high.
He (or his sperm, at least) hung out with me as we wait till I ovulate. He was my dinner companion. I set him up in his large round container on the chair across the table from me. As I ate my steamed vegetables and George Formaned meat (perhaps I can still lose another 2 pounds before I ovulate… it’s 107 pounds lost and counting), I told him about my day. A part of me thought it would be lovely if I didn’t have to drink both glasses of wine and Olaf had more to contribute to the conversation. He kind of just agrees with me all the time, though what can I really expect? He’s only 22.
As I sat there each night I couldn’t help comparing him to other men I’ve had dinner with over the last four years. Many, many men over many plates of steamed veggies in the midst of many, many pounds lost.
I was on a mission.
“You see, Olaf,” I say one night. “I wanted to get married. I wanted babies. Lots of babies.”
I look for a long while at Olaf’s routing bills and think how it was more than that. More than just wanting babies. It was needing babies. A craving. A physical pull.
It was waking up sweating after a dream where I am old and alone on an empty beach. Sitting on an old-fashioned lawn chair and thinking that it was impossible I should still be this way… partnerless. Childless.
About this one thing I have always been certain: I was born to be a mother.
Through my 20s and 30s, all around me, friends paired up and married, a little while later they were pregnant. But not me. I was off to school and then grad school. I was traveling. I was thinking I had time. Lots of time.
And then I turned 35.


From Tales from the Reading Room:

It seems appropriate, while I’m missing my own son, to review a memoir of baby-lust and biological clocks by Alexandra Soiseth, entitled Choosing You: Deciding to Have A Baby On My Own. It’s the story of a woman who decides to become a single mother by using a sperm donor and I have to say first up that it was an utterly compelling read.

Click here for full review

What sets Choosing You apart is Soiseth's unrelenting honesty, to the point that I don’t feel comfortable referring to her by the more distant “Soiseth” and want to call her “Alex.” She becomes as real as a friend, more connected to me even than bloggers I’ve read for five years.

The intense connection she inspires is not simply the result of witty personal confessions. So many of the memoirs I’ve read recently are of the blog-to-book variety: chatty, fun, and full of personality. But, literary, they are not. Parenting memoirs are a hot commodity right now, but they seem to rank somewhere around romance novels in terms of respect and literary acclaim. Choosing You, however, IS literary — extraordinary well-written, beautiful imagery, and nary a cute checklist in sight.

Click here for full review.