We were compelled to the stage by the human connection that storytelling facilitates. Craving a sense of unity, seeking humanity.
Through the eyes of motherhood, our storytellers shared their lives. They made us feel the experience of finding ourselves pregnant and single, putting ourselves together after a brutal divorce, cheering on gay rights progress in order that our own beloved children might live as equals, battling infertility while recovering from anorexia, fighting and winning a battle against postpartum anxiety, being given up for adoption and reconnecting with our biological family, navigating a foster child’s discovery of sexuality, finding a connection with our own mother through an unusual baring of souls and strengthening our resolve by refusing to suffer under the demands of motherhood. With laughter, we invented a new word, to name the awkward transition to first-time motherhood, threw our arms up and cried ‘Uncle!’ when we realized our children outnumbered us, resorted to fantasizing about ourselves as flight attendants in order to make it through yet another taxing day with young ones, taught our children the value of swearing and tenacity and admitted to ourselves that our mothers have had sex, maybe even more than once.
Each story lasted only a few minutes, but we who heard the stories, will carry them with us for a lifetime. We are changed. Our compassion is increased, our human bond enhanced.
To the women who told their stories, here in Portland: you are beautiful, brilliant souls, each and every one of you. We love you, Melissa Sher, Jenny Forrester, Tracey Barnes Priestly, Jessica Peyton Roberts, Sage Cohen, Nadia Martinez Chantry, Deb Stone, Renee Butcher, Meghan Yow, Clarissa Moll, Leanne Goolsby and Nikki Schulak
To those who stood with us in spirit: the producers, directors and cast members of our thirty-one sister cities, we FELT you. The energy from your shows and the support you offered, carried us and made us strong.
To the family and friends who propped us up, encouraged our efforts, took on extra duties at home and helped care for our children while we built our show, we could not have done this without you and we promise to take a break soon.
To our incredible national sponsors, Blogher and Chevy and our spectacular local sponsors, Zenana Spa and Wellness Center, Women’s Healthcare Associates, Crafty Wonderland, Radio Room, Toro Bravo Cookbook, Bolt Fabric Boutique, Johann Leiter at JML Foto and Tracey Whitney: thank you for believing in this project and for lending such tremendous support. You brought us to the stage.
To Alberta Rose Theatre, not only for the exquisite venue, but for holding our hands while we learned how to put on a show . You were the stage.
To the Portland Women’s Crisis Line, thank you for partnering with us and for the tremendously important work that you do, advocating for victims of sexual and domestic violence.
To our audience: thank you for choking-up and busting-up with us. You received us with open arms and wrapped us in a warm embrace. Ya’ll come back now, ya hear?
To the Listen To Your Mother crew: Deb Rox and Stephanie Precourt, thank you for keeping us on track and looking good, Melisa Wells, your title ‘mentor’ is so deserved.
To Ann Imig, Listen To Your Mother creator, national director, mother to a world-enhancing phenomenon: your amazing vision is equaled only by your extraordinary grace. Thank you for believing in us, for this incredible opportunity.
Carisa & Kelli