‘Listen to Your Mother’ Shares Powerful Stories About Motherhood

by Abby on May 11, 2012

Listen to Your Mother show, logoHer words hit me like a punch to the gut. I didn’t see them coming. I stopped breathing for a moment, aware only of the enormous lump growing in my throat. Moments earlier I had been nodding knowingly as this trim, blonde, 30-something woman described always wanting to be a little different growing up. I laughed along with her about her junior-high mullet, and smiled in recognition at having a child who will only eat cheese.

Then, with a tremble in her voice, this brave, brave woman standing on stage in front of an audience of 300 strangers in a darkened theater said: “I don’t want to be the mom of a dead son.”

Anna Whiston-Donaldson was one of the 14 brilliant and talented female bloggers who read their work aloud as part of the “Listen to Your Mother” show in Arlington, VA, last Sunday. Launched by blogger and “stay-at-home humorist” Ann Imig in 2010, “Listen to Your Mother” (LTYM) is a national series of live readings by local writers in celebration of Mother’s Day. LTYM grew from one show in Madison, WI, to 10 shows around the country in 2012. The DC show was produced by Kate Coveny Hood and directed by the unflappable and always-appealing Stephanie Stearns Dulli.

If you’ve ever experienced live theater, I don’t need to tell you how it’s different from watching a TV show or a movie, or a video on YouTube. It’s hard to describe exactly why these stories – all well-written and previously published on the cast members’ blogs – packed so much more of an emotional wallop in person than in print. Something about hearing them read aloud in the author’s own voice, seeing the sheen of perspiration on these women’s brows, the barely perceptible shake of their hands and stumble over a word here and there that made the stories more alive, more impactful, somehow.

I cannot believe the courage of these women. Bloggers, as a whole, are a shy, anxiety-ridden, self-esteem-starved bunch. I can say this because I am one, and because most of these bloggers have said as much themselves on their blogs. Most of them are not seeking the spotlight and, in fact, shy away from it. It’s much safer to pour your heart out on your laptop at home for anonymous strangers on the internet than to stand boldly before an audience of people with faces and names and cell phones they forgot to shut off and spill your guts about domestic violence, miscarriage, infertility, and having a special-needs child.

I would hate to give the impression that the show was a downer; it wasn’t at ALL. Sarah Braesch had me in hysterics with her story, “White Belt,” about signing up for Tae Kwon Do alongside her 5yo twins, and Monica Sakala had the audience rolling with her clever “Occupy Parents: Oppression by a Toddler.” And I can’t forget Devra Gordeon Renner’s story about granting her young son’s wish to go to Hooters on his birthday. In fact, most of the stories had both funny AND sad moments. Is that a metaphor for life or what?

If you missed the live performance, the readings will be available on LTYM’s YouTube channel in the near future. But please don’t miss the opportunity to see a show in person if LTYM comes to your area. I promise you, you will be amazed, humbled, inspired, and filled with gratitude to be a part of it. It is through sharing our stories that we connect, heal, educate, and embrace the most devastatingly wonderful, difficult, and meaningful role of our lives: that of mothers.

Happy Mother’s Day.

READ O’ THE DAY: Here is the piece Anna Whiston-Donaldson read in the show, from her blog, “An Inch of Gray.” As I’ve said, though, watching it on YouTube doesn’t do it justice. I urge you to go see a live LTYM show if you have the chance. You won’t regret it.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Frume Sarah May 11, 2012 at 6:54 am

Sounds amazing. Our local show is tonight, but I can’t make it. Looking forward to seeing it on the YouTube channel.

(You must apply for next year!!!)


Angie Mizzell May 12, 2012 at 5:44 am

Thank you for telling me about this, Abby! Your post had me right there in the audience.


Corey Feldman May 12, 2012 at 3:46 pm

So sorry I missed this. Can’t wait for next year.


Kate Hopper March 27, 2013 at 11:59 am

What an amazing evening, Abby! I can’t wait to listen to the podcast! (And I’m even more excited for our Minneapolis LTYM on May 9th!)


Leave a Comment

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: