Tag Archives: Ali Porter

San Bernardino Tragedy: Westport’s Lil’ Mamas Connection

In just a couple of years, Lil’ Mamas has grown into a big community.

It’s a robust, no-holds-barred, tell-all online family. Thousands of women laugh, cry, rant, and figured out what motherhood is all about, side by side. They answer each other’s questions, and support one another through sleepless nights, diaper explosions, and every other time moms feel so alone.

Ali Porter, and her son Mason.

Ali Porter, and her son Mason.

Lil’ Mamas has a strong Westport flavor. It was started by Ali Porter, a Westporter who left Staples in 1998 to act, work on music and hang with her boyfriend in Malibu. She’d already played Curly Sue in the film of the same name, then went on to Broadway (Urleen in “Footloose,” Bebe in the 2006 revival of “A Chorus Line”).

Celia Behar, who was Ali’s babysitter in Westport — that is, she babysat her — is Lil Mamas’ president. Several frequent contributors are Westporters too.

Women across the country are devoted to Lil’ Mamas. But as they advise each other, and follow one another’s journeys through motherhood, they feel as if they’re part of a small town.

And when tragedy strikes, the site’s many followers come together as if they really do live right down the street.

On Wednesday afternoon, group member Renee Wetzel wrote: “Please pray. My husband was in a meeting and a shooter came in. There are multiple people dead/shot. I can’t get a hold of him.” Her husband was in San Bernardino.

Renee continued to post throughout the day. Eight grueling hours later, she learned that her husband Michael was dead. He left behind 6 children.

Michael and Renee Wetzel, with their 6 children.

Michael and Renee Wetzel, with their 6 children.

The Lil’ Mamas community swung into action. In addition to providing emotional support — prayers, thoughts, loving words — Ali and Celia set up a fund.

The original goal was $25,000. They reached that in just a couple of hours. The new goal is $250,000. Right now, they’re just a few dollars shy.

Lil’ Mamas treats motherhood as less than sacrosanct. Contributors and commenters can be irreverent, sassy and saucy.

But — as Ali Porter and Celia Behar prove — Lil’ Mamas can also have big ol’ hearts.

Especially when the heart has been torn right out of one of their own.

(Click here to contribute to the Wetzel Family Fund.)

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