Our Listen to Your Mother: Kansas City show happened more than a week ago, but I’m still processing. In reality, I’ve been processing since the submissions started to hit our inbox, back when the roads were covered with ice and May 3 seemed like a lifetime away.
When those stories started coming in, I waited to read them. The pragmatist in me justified that decision with the argument that I wanted to give each submission the same attention. I was worried that if I read one on a bad day, when I was rushed and worried about a deadline or a bill or something else, that I’d not give it the due it deserved. I was worried that I’d linger longer over some and read too quickly through others.
In retrospect, though, I think I was just trying to make the whole experience last a little longer. It’s no shock that the process of producing a Listen To Your Mother show is much like becoming a mother for the first time: nine months seems so far away, and at the beginning there’s plenty of time to get lost in what-if’s and I wonders. Fast forward a month or two and there are more things to do and less time to daydream, and then, before you even know it, it’s time to breathe and push and push and breathe and then, before you even know what’s happened, your world has forever changed.
I decided to take on the role of co-director of LTYM:KC this year because I got hooked on the me-too moments from the 2013 show. Something magical happens after the last word is said and the spotlight gives way to house lights; as the cast members leave the stage and venture into the audience to hug and to shake hands, the moments begin. Audience members approach cast members and say ‘thank you for sharing your story. It’s my story, too.’
I thought there could never be anything better than unending me-too moments.
I was wrong.
The stories that the 2014 Kansas City cast shared on the stage of Unity Temple were more than stories of motherhood. Yes, every story focused on some aspect of motherhood, but the stories that demanded to be heard this year were some that not everyone can specifically relate to in detail or experience.
Not everyone has lost a baby. Not everyone has a transgender child. Not everyone has a gay child. Not everyone has a child who lives with both Sickle Cell disease and addiction. Not every woman knows what TTC means. Not everyone deals with divorce and shared custody. Not everyone celebrates her father on Mother’s Day.
There were precious few me-too conversations for some in the cast. Instead, there were ‘now I see’ and ‘I never realized’ moments. Eyes and minds were opened. Hearts swelled. I’d like to think that understanding and acceptance ticked up just a little with each story, all because a group of amazing women took a huge, collective breath.