How can it be over? This was the Spokane’s third annual LTYM show. With every passing year more details become fixed; more items are checked off the to-do list as soon as they are written. We have a fantastic venue and rehearsal space. We have an impressively hip and accommodating bar which hosts the reception. We no longer worry that no one will audition, or that no one will come to the show. All of this means that we have fewer and fewer things to worry about, and an exponentially increasing number of things to sit back, relax, and enjoy.
And enjoy we did. This year’s cast was comprised of 13 of the most enjoyable, intelligent, open, and beautiful women I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know.
Becky Ammerman opened the show with a story that had us laughing, holding our breath, and laughing again as she recounted her disdain for all things baby related. That is, until she realized that she herself wanted a baby.
“I spent most of my 20s avoiding baby showers the way most people avoid a nasty stomach virus.” -Becky Ammerman
Mery Smith took the stage next and captured the audience’s hearts and admiration as she told the story of the birth of her second son and his delivery room diagnosis of Downs Syndrome.
“Meeting Hobbs was like meeting the dream I never dreamed. Not because it wasn’t a good dream or a beautiful dream, I just didn’t know it was possible that I could live this dream.” -Mery Smith
Karlene Arguinchona followed Mery with the story of her adult daughter’s life threatening illness, and how it has reshaped her family and her outlook on life.
“Her illness and all its ramifications became the story of our lives. There were so many hard parts that I found myself at times longing to pay attention to something else. But that’s just asking to be someone else.” - Karlene Arguinchona
After Karlene, we all needed a little levity and Caroline Fowler was the perfect person to provide it with her hilarious and heartfelt tale of transformation from a stressed out first-time mom to a relaxed mom of three who rejoices in her children and laughs at her own mistakes.
“Do NOT accidentally leave your baby in the car twice just because he is so quiet that you forgot about him until you got to the diaper aisle. Do spend less time trying to make your kids who you think they ought to be and more time enjoying them.” -Caroline Fowler
Gretchen Cleveland told us about her struggle with infertility. We cried with her through the tale, rejoicing at the end as she announced that she was expecting a baby in the fall.
“As I lay in recovery post egg retrieval, I remember crying and feeling relieved that I finally “did good”… After years of feeling like I was failing, I cheered that my body finally did what it was supposed to do.” -Gretchen Cleveland
Jennifer Knickerbocker shared a harrowing story about a horrific car crash and how her mother’s arrival at the Emergency Room quite literally saved her life.
“The night comes. My babies cry out for me and I cry out for my mother. It never stops being important. But it is more than that. Sometimes if feels like life and death and mothers help us choose life.” -Jennifer Knickerbocker
As we let out a collective sigh, Rebecca Mack took the stage with grace and humor to regale us with the story of her birth, and how its telling provided a space for forgiveness and understanding between mother and daughter.
“Tall dark handsome Doctor Danforth caught my slick head in his clean and capable hands when I careened out of the little red tunnel in a torrent. The composition of that great gush mortified my mother in a way that shaped us.” - Rebecca Mack
Kathryn Bonnett’s story about her beautiful son Seth was next. Seth was born with a heart defect and passed away before his first birthday. Kathryn’s reading reflected her struggle and her strength, and her love for her family.
“The hardest thing? By far the hardest thing is learning to live without him. Facing Thanksgiving and Christmas, hearing our big boys cry for their little brother.” – Kathryn Bonnett
Terra Price’s journey to motherhood through the foster system was the next story of the night.
“What is family? Her parents were taking so long between visits that they didn’t even know her. Meanwhile I was there every day trying so hard not to fall in love..” – Terra Price
Terra left us thinking about all the different ways that families are built. Rose Weagent followed Terra with a hilarious story about realizing that her tween was becoming a women in the feminine care aisle of the grocery store.
“When I went through the change my mother said: “Just be thankful you don’t have to use a belt.” This ranks among the all-time top three creepiest things my mother has ever said to me.” – Rose Weagent
Becky Nappi’s beautifully written tale of being auntie to many, mother to none, and a blesser of babies took the stage next.
“Now when I’m asked if I have children I say: “No, I couldn’t.” Long seconds of awkward silence sometimes follow for the asker of the question, but no longer for me.”
The penultimate speaker of the evening was Jennifer Savage. Jennifer talked about her hopes, fears and her love for a daughter who moves between gender lines.
This world does not expect us to be different but here we are, nonetheless, tender, human, one not like the other.” - Jennifer Savage
Sara Smith ended the evening and left the audience laughing and sighing with the comedy and truth that her mother and grandmother passed down to her.
“Those words of my mother and grandmother, I know now, were about worth. That’s what mothers do with their words – they remind you of your worth.” – Sara Smith
It was a spectacular show. Sitting backstage, Stacey and I could see each reader’s silhouette as they read, laughed, cried, and connected with the audience. We were so proud of each of them, and so acutely aware and appreciative of the power of story telling.
The night would not have been possible without our Local and National Sponsors. A zillion thank yous to Blog Her, One2One Network, Mamalode Magazine, Hotel Ruby and Sapphire Lounge, The Institute for Extended Learning at Spokane Community College, Body by Michelle Personal Training, Plum Tree School, ILF Media, Little Nutmeg Productions. Thanks also to the Women and Children’s Free Restaurant and Community Kitchen of Spokane for their dedication to improving the lives of women and children by serving nutritious meals in a safe environment, and for being our local charity for the second year running.
We owe a huge debt of thanks and appreciation to our volunteers who managed the house while we managed the show: Christy Goodell, Renee Schafer, Amy Dawley, Jeni Steeber, Amy Schmidt, Jeremy Graham, Jennifer Holm, Brittany Holm, and Lynn Caruso. It would also not have been possible,and certainly wouldn’t have looked as good, without Phaedra Jarrett stage managing and Kristina Mattson and Nick Follger documenting the evening with their beautiful photos, including everything you see here.
Finally, thank you Ann Imig. Thank you.
See you next year!
Co-Directors and Producers, Listen To Your Mother Spokane