In 2013, I was cast in Listen to Your Mother Show Austin. LTYM features curated, live readings by local writers on the topic of motherhood in celebration of Mother’s Day. As of this year, Listen to Your Mother shows are in 39 cities and Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now was released April 7 of this year, featuring a number of essays from past shows. Fellow 2013 LTYM Austin alumnae Ruth Pennebaker and Wendi Aarons (who also co-produced the 2013 LTYM Austin show with Elizabeth McGuire) both contributed to the book! (Cool, eh?)
Not all of the writers are mothers and not all of the writers are professional writers (Ahem. Me.) It was fairly intimidating and a lot surprising to find myself sitting around a table for our first read-through with all of these real-life pros. It was realizing you’re at the wrong wedding reception after you’ve already taken a piece of cake. What are you going to do? I sat there and ate the cake.
I ate the cake, but I spent the rest of the party fairly disengaged. Which is a sacrilege since LTYM is profoundly moving and even transformative. But, it wasn’t like that for me. Which isn’t a statement about the show, my castmates or producers – it’s a statement about me and where I was in life.
In May 2013, Cheech was a six month old infant. No. Not an infant – a nursling with a lip-tie. He nursed all. the. time. So he came with me from Waco to Austin for the audition, rehearsals and the show. My husband cared for him in the green room until after I read, I cared for him until curtain call. Yeah. My husband didn’t even hear me read. And I didn’t hear anyone else read except for those rehearsals – the ones where I was caring for Cheech at the back of the auditorium. And forget about any after-parties or meet-ups. Those were just not happening with adorable
Leech Cheech in tow.
I was present, but I wasn’t present. I was in the car. I was in the green room. I was hiding in hallways. I was in the ohmygodheneedstonurseagain frame of mind (and thankgoditsaustin as I flashed random strangers out of necessity frame of mind). The moment I was experiencing just wasn’t the moment everyone else in the cast or audience was experiencing. I didn’t need tissues because I wasn’t crying – I was trying to keep my small human from crying. I was doing what so many of us do – missing out on things because babies don’t keep.
But moments like LTYM don’t keep, either. You don’t get a do-over. Once you’ve done it, you don’t get to do it again. People submit to this show year after year after year hoping to make the cut. And then they don’t. Or they do. And then, some of them end up on their local news and some of them end up in a book – and I am still a lot surprised that my submission, written on a whim as part of a New Year’s resolution – made the cut.
And I know, I know. I did the right thing, the only thing. Cheech needed me. But in honor of Mother’s Day, I get to say that doing the right thing stinks sometimes. I missed out on the full experience of LTYM. I missed out on what was a super big, once-in-a-lifetime deal for an amateur like me because mothering.
I ate the cake, but I don’t know what flavor it was.
So, here is a link to my LTYM video. Note the nursing-friendly, wrinkle-resistant outfit (which coordinated with my baby-wearing gear). I haven’t actually watched it myself – I hate watching myself on video/tv – so they could have dubbed in Vincent Price reading the classifieds for all I know, but I hope you enjoy it. I haven’t posted it before because of all the feelz I have about not really getting to enjoy my 6:52″ of fame. I was just too busy thinking about that hungry baby in the green room.
And maybe I’m okay with that now. Thanks for listening.
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