I freaked out a few people when I posted to Facebook this morning that our Listen To Your Mother: Kansas City show is less than two weeks away. One week, five days to be exact.
When we first started thinking about this show, before Christmas last year, it seemed to me like we had so much time to plan. It seemed like forever until we’d be able to put out a call for submissions; hold auditions; announce the cast and have our first read through.
Just like being a mom, I guess, which is obvious but for some reason still surprises me. How did the time slip away and how did the show sneak up on us like this? It’s been in the forefront of our lives for months; we’ve worked on it in one way or another every single day and yet I have no idea where the time has gone.
My oldest graduates from the Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science the week after Listen To Your Mother: Kansas City. His 17 years also seem a blur to me, even though I can still remember those sacred, quiet mornings after he was first born, curled up on our bed in the two flat in Chicago that we called home. He fit so perfectly on my chest, dozing and looking so perfect I thought I was dreaming. I remember trying to nap—every damn advice book said to nap when the child naps—but getting so lost in looking at him that an hour would pass in what felt like a minute.
Now he’s significantly taller than me, definitely smarter than me and itching to move on to his next place. As I struggle with the logistics and the finances of helping him get where I know he deserves to be, I think about each cast member of our Listen To Your Mother: Kansas City show.
I think about how sad it will be—and how I’ll feel as if I failed them—if Unity Temple isn’t packed with people eager to hear their stories. I think about how much each of them deserves to have faces they love in the audience, and hope that they are supported and loved and encouraged. I think about how everyone—and I do mean everyone—will learn something, feel something, better understand something, from hearing these stories and I am busting with pride that each of them is so brave. So brilliant. So real.
My co-director, Leslie Kohlmeyer, commented on a cast picture by saying, ‘awww…my babies’ and she is so right. They’re all grown women; all accomplished, fascinating, talented women. Not babies, really, though they are, right now, to me.
I feel the same compulsion to swaddle them up, as I did with each of my three little ones, and fill them full of kindness and encouragement and nurturing and love before we gently nudge them on stage to share the gift of their story with the world. I want to produce this magical experience that they’ll never forget, bear witness to the happy tears that fill their eyes and serve as a place to come back to when life gets them down and they need a reminder of just how badass they truly are.
So now, as I gear up for the home stretch, I do for all my babies what mothers do best: pray that others will see in them what I do—grace, wisdom, courage, wit and true talent– and sit in awe of the responsibility that I am truly honored to carry.
Shameless plug: please buy tickets to see the show. I am one of 14 women who will stand on stage and read a piece that I wrote about motherhood. Every single piece is different. I am so proud to be a part of Listen To Your Mother: Kansas City, and I am happy that 10% of every ticket sold goes to help women in Kansas City through Women’s Employment Network.