It’s not often I get rubbed by a pinup girl.

Then again, the night of Listen to Your Mother wasn’t just any night, and Sarah “Sam” Manley isn’t just any pinup girl. I knew her name, of course, before we met; she’s a blogger rock star that had landed on The Today Show, GMA and CNN after her post “My Son Is Gay” went viral in 2010. I didn’t get to meet Sarah until we both knew we were in the show and, in fact, as I stalked Twitter during the rehearsal nights I felt just a bit of anxiety when I knew someone of her stature was also reading for a spot. Now before anyone gets all ‘Lisa you’re awesome, too‘ on me let’s just be real for a second; the girl is sassy, whip smart, articulate, and all sorts of  badass in one tiny gorgeous package.  She’s the real deal, and it was an honor to share the stage with her.

Part of what I loved about the show, and about Sarah in particular, is that we were all mothering each other in our own ways. I’m a crier; Sarah, not so much. Don’t get me wrong, I know that she teared up at times but she was next to me the entire night; Lisa, the can’t-stop-once-I-stop-crier. So what did she do when the pieces were the most raw and I started to sniffle just a little more than I had been a minute before? She gently placed her hand on my back, and she rubbed. Up and down, with that expert touch that only a mother has; not so soft that it tickles but not so firm that it’s awkward. Just a perfect little reminder that someone has my back. She did the same thing to Erin, and our photographer captured it on film. It’s one of my favorite pictures of the night.


Photo courtesy of Karen Ledford Photography.

And what did she do when we both spotted Erin’s mom in the front row, crying and without tissues during her daughter’s reading? She deftly maneuvered the stage stairs in higher-than-three-inch-heels and gave Julie her own personal packet of tissues. She’s sweet like that, this pinup girl that went fierce mama bear when her cub got heat for a Halloween costume.  And her piece shows all those sides of her; it’s funny, it’s fierce and it’s unapologetic, just like Sarah.

Chances are you’ve read it already. Even so, I hope you’ll watch it again.

I hope you’ll share Sarah’s reading on Twitter and/or Facebook. You can watch all the 2013 Listen to Your Mother videos on the Listen to Your Mother show YouTube channel.

Learn more about Karen Ledford Photography.