Our Milwaukee Listen To Your Mother Show happened exactly one month ago today, and not a day has passed since then that the LTYM production team hasn’t thought about our readers, our audience, our sponsors and our Milwaukee community! Each of our cast members read with a passion and love for their story, that it was hard to believe that for many, this was their first time on stage. After our show, many in the audience said to me, “I can’t believe some of them had never done this before!”
I think of Sini, and how she set the tone for our show: this is true confession time and how many in the audience were nodding their heads yes to Sini’s story of how Daddy gets the best of the kids. Sini’s natural spot-on delivery made us all feel as if she were whispering to us over coffee.
I think of Colleen, finding the beautiful in the ridiculously wonderful, and how her words brought tears to my eyes when I remember my own days with muddy little boys. Colleen reminded so many in the audience to relish the fleeting moments.
We had Mandy, with her powerful story, that though it was written for her magical boy, Cristian, it resonated with every single mother who has not spoken up for her child. You made us all stronger for the next time we encounter someone who speaks out of place, Mandy, and you helped us all sew our own Superwoman cape.
Rebekah’s honesty will save somebody. I happen to know it already has. When Rebekah told of the valley of her experience with postpartum anxiety, there was a woman in the audience listening. Rebekah’s focused determination to share her story so that others would seek help was undeniable, and I met with the woman in the audience who heard her the following Thursday. And now, she has met Rebekah. I get shivers when I think of the power of our stories. And when the videos go live, just think of how many more women that will find understanding and hope in Rebekah’s bare truth.
I remember our cast member, Mel, a house favorite with her local tale of her Green Bay Packer loving mother, which endeared her to us all. How many of us identified with that one story that only we can tell of our mothers. A perfect example of how unique each of our mothers are.
Christi’s essay was one so delicate and poignant, that I wanted to place it up high on a shelf, where we could have it always. Beautiful, harkening, and speaks for why we mother: how will our children remember us? Breathtakingly lovely, and it felt like a genuine gift.
Nancy shared her broken heart with us, telling of the double loss of a mother, and an infant daughter. You could hear a pin drop as she spoke of the last days spent with her Elizabeth, and how we filled that room on that afternoon with love right back to her. Nancy’s piece felt made to order, fitting in right after Christi’s piece in answer to Christi’ question, what will we leave our children with? The magic of these two stories, one working next to the other, from two strangers, solidifies what LTYM believes, that there is a community and a thread to the world of mothering.
Elizabeth’s tale of the hijinks of her three children had us laughing and smiling with the unexpected mischief of young children. When you see the video, listen for the chandelier scene — she nails motherhood. It was this depiction that brought down the house. Elizabeth’s story is one of joy found in the moments of chaos, and most wonderfully, she made her grandmother forget about life for awhile in laughter. What you did for all of us that afternoon, Elizabeth, was to quench our thirsty souls, and you did it so beautifully, loving your children the entire way.
Linda, we will forever laugh as we picture an obedient little you, leg frozen in mid-step, awaiting the command of “Halt!” from your mother. One of the funniest visuals I’ve ever been left with. On top of making us laugh with the ridiculous then but understood decades later behavior of your mother, I am in awe of how, with your mother passing away only a month ago, you pulled up the inner courage needed to read flawlessly. Incredible strength and determination on your part, and an obvious will to dedicate this piece eternally to your mother.
Lane, you wrapped up our show as the final reader as if you were sent for on demand. With a big red LTYM bow. We are never ready for motherhood, no matter how much we think we are: that is the beauty of your essay. Ready or not, at 100 miles per hour, motherhood arrives. This photo here perfectly represents the contagious happiness you helped as all feel as you told of your new life with your son.
To our Milwaukee cast… you were astounding. EACH OF YOU were so important to our show and vital to what you shared with our Milwaukee community. Your words uplifted us, joined us together, and helped us celebrate motherhood. We found comfort and a knowing ease in each of your stories. After the show in the lobby, Jen and I heard words of praise rolling off people’s lips, “… excellent, fantastic, amazing, we loved it! Everyone was so wonderful. We can’t wait to come next year!”
We can’t wait for the world to see your videos! You made our job look easy, Listen To Your Mother Cast of 2014.
We love you, and we thank you, for an incredible 2014 LTYM Milwaukee show.
Jen and Alexandra
**Gorgeous photos from our LTYM Milwaukee photographer Orphonic Multimedia