I could probably write about Listen To Your Mother for the next year and not run out of things to say. I think I'll do the highlight reel next, but first the lessons learned.
Last year I had been on my job for all of one month when I found out the HR manager had just started writing a blog. I moseyed down to her office and said, "I do that as well and there's this show coming to Kansas City that I've heard a lot about and I was wondering if you'd like to go with me." We went. I dragged the Husband as well. When the show ended and the writers were taking their bow, I leaned over to Amy and said, "That's going to be us up there next year."
A plan was cemented.
Flash forward to this year and a writer I follow on the east coast posted the link to submit pieces for LTYM in Washington, D.C. I googled the Kansas City link and posted it to my Facebook wall for my fellow writer. "Amy, dear, it's go time for us." We both submitted pieces - probably five minutes before the deadline at least in my case. We both got called to audition. My take on mine, "I didn't suck." Her take, "It was rough." Then we waited. When I got the email that I had made the show I squealed in delight and FEAR, and then I pleaded with The Universe to make it so for Amy. A few hours later The Universe emailed us both to say that this was in fact true.
What I wanted out of this experience waffled depending on my mood. Primarily, I remain proud of what I've written and believe it could help other parents in my situation. Besides that, an internet sensation wouldn't be so awful. A book deal? Scan me a contract. A slew of advertisers for my blog so I can quit my day job? Duh. A friend to go through the process with? Yes, that. Entwined first in a job and then in words. Somebody who loved stories and authenticity as much as me to be on stage.
Just a little over an hour before the show started I was coming from the bathroom and headed upstairs at the church where the event took place. I couldn't tell you how many authors I've seen at this church. Dozens at the very least, but I've never been beyond the sanctuary. Alone in the basement I headed toward the staircase when a woman stopped me. She was about my age, attractive, quite beautiful actually. "Please can you help me for a second," she asked.
"I'm looking for the AA Meeting that's supposed to be here and I can't find it. Do you know where it might be? I need to find it."
"No, I'm sorry I don't. I know it's here some place because I heard somebody say that it was going on. I'm not at all familiar with this place, though. I'm sorry. Maybe upstairs?"
"Okay, I'll keep looking."
She headed down the hall looking in empty room after empty room. I headed up the stairs.
At 7:30 we took the stage, stood before hundreds of strangers and told our stories. The night was nerve wracking, followed by sheer joy. After we took our bow Amy and I hugged for a long time. There wasn't a whole lot to say between us. We did it. We will be forever connected.
Therein lies the beauty of Listen To Your Mother. We are all connected and it is the stories of our triumphs and failures, fears and happiness, our realness that is the cement.
My daydreams may or may not ever materialize, but I would give up the possibility of every single one if it meant that the chance encounter I had an hour before the show led to that woman standing before strangers and telling her own painful story.
Yes, that........for I am her.
She is me.
We are in this together.