1000 familes project: Catherine and Arden

1,000 Families Project: Catherine and Arden

In my newest one-woman play, The Femme Playlist, there is a scene where I describe my first years being the mother of a child with a disease: I had her strapped onto me and upright at all times, save for a five minute shower in the morning. I parented Arden with little to no help from friends, family and my spouse at the time. Between this mayhem and healing from a whopping 51 hour at-home labour (the longest prayer I ever prayed to God), I knew I was in this journey alone.

Single mamahood as a queer brown woman has meant writing newspaper columns while rocking my child to sleep. It has meant directing theatre pieces while breastfeeding. It has meant watching my toddler roll her sippy cup under the seats of tuxedoed audience members’ seats during opening nights.

But don’t get me wrong. This has been a wondrous journey, for a lone wolf is always gifted with singing songs to a moon meant only for them. I have watched her tap away at my laptop stringing together words beautifully in the form of poems or fantasy fiction. I have seen her smiling and innocent sitting atop the laps of ex-child soldiers while I taught theatre, affirming them in their humanity and goodness. I have heard songs she has improvised only for me, on ukulele, just after we survived the tragedy of an emergency move.

For all this—this opportunity to howl in joy and laughter at the miracle of Arden—I am grateful.

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Catherine Hernandez

About

Catherine Hernandez is an actor, playwright and single mother from Toronto. She is the artistic director of the Sulong Theatre, a theatre company dedicated to creating work by and about women of colour. Her latest play, The Femme Playlist, is part of b current’s afteRock Plays this October.


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