The moment I heard about the Listen To Your Mother program, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.
It’s a national program that puts moms (or anyone who has a mom) center stage, asking them to share a story illustrating some aspect of motherhood. You don’t have to be an actor, a blogger, or even a writer. Just a person with a compelling story – and the guts to read it out loud.
This year, there are shows scheduled in 24 cities across the country. Including Indianapolis.
So, of course, I submitted a post. This one.
It’s almost four years old, but it still makes me choke up every time I read it.
Why? Well, because it’s true, every word of it.
And there’s not a word of it I would ever have the courage to say out loud.
Until, it seems, you offer to put me center stage, with a spotlight shining on me and an audience spread out before me.
I’m not sure what that says about me. But whatever.
So I submitted it. But I didn’t really think I’d ever hear from them. The blogosphere, after all, is full of super talented writers, a number of whom live right here in Central Indiana.
But lo and behold, on Sunday night there was an email inviting me to audition. I had to drive up to an unknown destination in Indianapolis, after work, on a Wednesday night of what I knew was going to be a ridiculously long week. I had to read in front of people I didn’t know, pitting myself against who knows how many other women.
But still, it never occurred to me to say no.
That’s not to say I wasn’t nervous. My stomach was tied in knots all day yesterday. I read it to myself over and over again, and every time I choked up, I smacked myself upside the head and said, “you will not cry, damn it!”
My hands shook as I turned the key in the ignition to start on my way. My brain blazed with the words, “it’s not too late to back out…”
So I turned up the volume on my most obnoxious 80s music, turned down the volume down in my brain, and hit the road.
An hour and a half later I arrived. I was calmer than I had been in a while (driving does that to me) and ready to meet whatever challenges the evening had in store.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to plunge right into an audition. Instead, I grabbed a water, took a seat in a church’s library, and smiled awkwardly at the silent women who surrounded me.
The quiet didn’t last long.
One woman met my darting eyes and said “Hi, I’m…(I’ve totally forgotten what her name was).”
“I’m Amber,” I replied.
And then the conversation was off and running.
She was the mother of triplets. The mother of triplets with two older children. And she wasn’t a blogger.
The woman next to me was a statistician with a three-year-old…who had a friend with triplets. She wasn’t a blogger either.
There was a magazine writer from Mississippi. A blogger turned social media consultant. And a couple of other quiet women who stayed on the fringes of the conversation.
We compared notes on child-raising. Talked about our jobs…and our dreams.
It was surprisingly genuine, considering we were just a bunch of strangers gathered together to audition for a show.
I was almost sorry when it was finally my turn to read.
If we had been at a blogging convention, I would have passed out my card. But we weren’t, so I just have to hope I run into these could-be-friends again.
By the time I sat down to read, I wasn’t nervous at all.
The women across from me were as nice as could be, and put me at ease with just a few sentences.
A few moments later, I launched into my post, nerves gone. They laughed when they were supposed to (which was good). I choked up when I said I wouldn’t (which wasn’t).
It was almost a little bit fun.
Will I be cast? I have no clue.
Was it worth it? Absolutely. If only for the reminder that we all have stories, blogger or no.
And on May 2, when the curtain rises? I’ll be there, one way or the other.
I wouldn’t miss hearing those stories for anything in the world.