I have had some good nights, and some good weekends, and some truly amazing — amazing — blessings in my life.
Aside from my wedding day, and each of the times I delivered a child (in the words of one of the directors, Stephanie Jankowski), “out of my vagina — Like. A. Boss” — Listen to Your Mother tops them all.
It was, hands down, one of the most amazing things I have ever had the privilege to do.
Amanda Mushro (the other director), Stephanie, and producer Jennifer Hicks, did an incredible job, and maybe got a teensy bit lucky, putting this show together. The stories on the stage that night fit together like it was planned before auditions, with 13 women all telling about their experience of motherhood. All different and yet all with a kernel in the middle that was the same. The kernel of motherhood.
We thanked our directors and producer A LOT in the weeks leading to the show, in emails, on Facebook, in person, at each reading. And each time they told US: This show is you. You make this. Your story. We are the privileged ones.
And they are right. I believed them. But we cast were right too. We could not have done it without each other. We needed them to bring this show to Pittsburgh, and they needed us to do this show in Pittsburgh.
If you didn’t get to see the show, in about a month or so, I’ll be bugging you to go and watch the videos on YouTube — and don’t just watch mine. Watch them all.
I posted on FB here, and borrowed from cast member Britt Reints who summed up each story succinctly. I’m quite flattered that her daughter liked my story enough to call it her favorite. At the cast party, I know I heard the most about Mother Hen and Unplanned Parenthood. Erika Fricke was missed at the cast party, I’ll tell you that! I had to let people know about the outcome of her story.
I understand. After the first read through, I walked up to Erika and said, “WELL?”
Watch the video. You’ll see.
While I was nervous in the days leading up to the show, especially once I got Kate’s communion party out of the way and had to focus on the next thing, I felt like I was handling everything okay. As the show got closer, I just took each day hour by hour. Friday, that probably became every half hour by half hour.
And I was mostly fine until Stephanie got up to read her piece — during the actual show. I had eaten a little something so I wouldn’t have a sugar crash, and I was drinking water, but not too much because I didn’t want to have to urgently pee in the middle of the show. But Stephanie was sitting back down, and I realized I felt a lightheaded, and had a bit of a headache. “Oh no,” I thought. “What is happening?”
And then I realized I was holding my breath.
I’ll tell you as much as all of us women made the show — and we all did, we all NAILED our pieces — the energy from the audience gave us the impetus to read like we had never read before. As soon as Natalie delivered her first laugh line, and the audience responded, I thought, “WE HAVE THEM.” That audience was ours. They listened to us! They responded to us! I heard gasps of fear, groans of pain, sniffling of tears.
And laughter. Oh, the laughter.
Because that’s motherhood, isn’t it? Fear and pain and tears — and joy and love and laughs.
And you know what I am most excited about? It’s going to happen again. I got a text yesterday from a friend who said, “I have an idea for an LTYM essay.” I responded, “WRITE IT DOWN.” Jen, Amanda, and Stephanie have started something great, something that Pittsburgh will love and embrace and be good at, and I can’t wait until next year.
If you have a story about motherhood — and who doesn’t — think about sharing it. You don’t have to be a mother. You don’t even have to be a woman. Tell a story. Be authentic.
Thanks to everyone who supports this show, from Pittsburgh and beyond.
See you next year.