The journey that began with the quiet click of a mouse four months ago ended with the thunderous sound of applause and a standing ovation on Thursday night.
And what a journey it’s been.
At the start, I was alone in my head, afraid my post would get chosen – and afraid it wouldn’t.
Then came the nerves of the audition, the triumph of the “hey we like you” email, and the anticipation of things to come.
At the beginning of April, we met for the first time to drink some wine, read through our stories, and get a feeling for how the show would go.
And the talent in that room? Humbled me beyond measure. I cried great big ugly tears through the sad ones, laughed belly laughs through the happy ones, and quietly thought “I am not worthy” throughout the whole evening.
When I left, I wasn’t sure if I could do it.
But I kept going anyway.
Next came the technical rehearsal. We gathered on stage in the empty theater, practiced our entrances and exits, and ran through the show again.
That’s when things got real.
We looked at each other. At the empty seats. At the lights shining down on the podium. And, while I can’t speak for the others, I know I was thinking, “Holy crap, we’re really going to do this thing. Wow. Shit.”
The next few days were lost in a haze of nerves as I tried on 50,000 different outfits, ran through my piece in my head 100,000,000 different times, and in between, tried to work.
The big day arrived, along with bouquets of flowers and last minute worries about my un-waxed eyebrows. I snipped and snapped at my family as I watched the clock tick down, both willing it to hurry up and hoping it wouldn’t.
Finally, it was time to go.
The next few hours passed quickly. There was a flurry of pictures, more than a few hugs, some nervous nibbling and noshing, and the last minute gulping of wine directly from the bottle.
As the opening slide show ran, we gathered in the wings. We giggled like school girls and sent noisy, anxious breaths whooshing out.
Then the curtains rose and the show began.
At times, the laughter was so loud, the readers had to step back from the podium to wait for it to quiet.
At others, gulping sobs and sniffed back tears filled the auditorium.
Then it was my turn.
I clacked up to the podium, squinted past the bright spotlight at the audience, and my nerves disappeared.
I think I did okay. I haven’t actually been able to watch the video my husband took yet.
I know I got some laughs. I heard some sniffs at the right places. And I didn’t actually break down in tears while reading.
When I returned to my seat, it was with a feeling of extreme relief coupled with triumph.
I did it. I f’ing did it.
Later, while basking in the applause, I couldn’t quite believe it was over.
And I really didn’t want it to be.
Being part of the Listen To Your Mother Show was an indescribably wonderful experience. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
So if you’re out there, thinking about submitting something for next year’s show? Don’t think. Just do.
You won’t regret it.