Listen To Your Mother: Atlanta… Year Three

Listen To Your Mother: Atlanta… Year Three

Aaah… it’s Listen To Your Mother time!

We’re officially 5 days out from our third Listen To Your Mother Show here in Atlanta. This is it. All the work, sweat, tears, anxiety dreams… it all culminates on Saturday night at Marietta’s New Theatre In The Square.

Thirteen amazing cast members will be sharing their stories of motherhood. We held our final rehearsal yesterday and let me tell you something right now. You do NOT want to miss these stories. These women share hope, heartache, lessons, fears, and yes, even things you just don’t talk about in normal conversation.

FinalRehearsal2016

Miranda and I are so thrilled to have Zoë Barracano as our Media Sponsor and photographer. Once again, Lee at Firefly Loft has helped with our design work. And Layla Kelling, Arbonne Independent Consultant is a wonderful Friend of LTYM. We can’t put on our show without the help of our local sponsors. So thank you to these women… give them some love!

One of the most rewarding parts of Listen To Your Mother is the charitable segment. Did you know that each LTYM city chooses a local cause to support through ticket sales? Yes, they do. Ten percent of ticket sales goes directly into a local cause — typically one that helps mothers and children — and our casts fall in love with them.

This year, Miranda and I chose The Drake House, a wonderful organization that is helping women and their children get back on their feet after finding themselves homeless. It’s a growing problem in North Atlanta, which given the image North Atlanta has as being an affluent area, is shocking to most. You can read all about The Drake House on the LTYM: ATL site.

The only thing we are missing that will make this LTYM season complete is YOU.

We need YOU int he audience. Tickets are on sale and going fast. They will sell out, likely before Thursday or Friday. Please get yours now and come support this amazing cast of women!

Your life will be better for having heard their stories. That I can promise.

 Buy Them Here!

A Mother’s Heart

A Mother’s Heart

On April 26, 2014, at the very first
Listen To Your Mother: Atlanta, I read these words.
I should tell you to bring tissues.
photo: From The Hip

photo: From The Hip

It had been a rough week around here between me and the 9 year old.

My husband had been traveling a lot and work had been stressful.

Henry and I had butted heads, talked back to each other, and raised our voices way too many times.

It wasn’t pretty, y’all.

I’m ashamed to say, I had yelled more than I should.

I’m sad that Henry had said “I hate you” more than he ever should. I know he didn’t mean it, but he said it.

He had already gone a few days without riding his bike to school as punishment for previous transgressions and at that moment, I may or may not have threatened to make him wash all of his clothes, cook his own food and pay his own rent for the rest of his life if he didn’t shape up.

Maybe I meant it. Maybe I didn’t??

Jason had to be made out to be the bad guy, the one I threatened to call so he could “handle it” and he’s the one who actually got to handle it when he got home.

I don’t like that I had to stoop to that because my GOSH I hated it when my mom used to threaten to tell my Daddy when he got home what I had done wrong.

So imagine my surprise when I was doing JUST THAT?

Finally, I had to make good on an earlier threat and put Henry to bed early — and without supper! I mean, it was like 6:30 early. But it had to be done or I was just a pushover.

I sat with him and we talked about a magazine he had been reading and school and how he was going to respect me more. We were both mad and frustrated and insanely tired.

Then he started crying a little and asked me to stay while he tried to go to sleep. He rolled over and guided my hand over his heart — covered it with  his own small hand — and he pressed it to his chest as hard as he could.

His other hand held on to his beloved Muffins like his life depended on it.

I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed with love. There’s a pretty good reason why that’s my Henry’s middle name.

I laid there for 45 minutes with his heart beating perfectly in my hand. t felt like I could just reach in and grab it if I wanted to.

My brain told me this was one of those “Mom moments” I needed to hold on to.

So I stayed there, watching him doze off into dreamland, eyes twitching and mouth moving slightly — in awe that I was chosen to be his mom.

As I held his heart in my hand, I also realized how much like his brother he seems, and how much alike I think they would be if Charlie was alive.

But comparing a 9 year old to a baby who should be 11 but will always be 24 days old?? That’s ridiculous.

When Henry sleeps, though, even at 9 years old, it’s so clear to me that they have the same skin and eyes and that funny droop on one side of their mouth.

It’s very rare these days that I stop and think, “What would life be like if Charlie and Henry were growing up together?”

I think I don’t allow myself to think these things because honestly, it hurts to imagine it.

But then there are moments like these.

Moments when I am reminded how much they look alike and how I’m sure their personalities WOULD BE not necessarily the same, but complimentary to each others.

There are these moments, as a mother, that take my breath away.

It’s moments like these when I really remember that I have two sons and am forever mothering two sons.

One is here and one isn’t.

One has a heartbeat I can feel and one whose last heartbeat I felt in my arms.

One says things that break my heart and the other I carry in my heart.

One can wrap his small hand around mine, hold it to his heart, and make me realize that my life is complete because I am the mother of two.

 

Listen. That’s the sound of Magic happening.

Listen. That’s the sound of Magic happening.

The clinking of glasses. 

The pre-show chatter of an audience. 

The buzzing sound of the house lights being brought down. 

The clinking of high heels across a wooden floor in complete silence. 

The perfectly timed laughter, tears, and “Amens.” 

The sound of cheers and applause while taking a final bow. 

If you listen?

That’s the sound of Magic happening. 

We did it. We gave Motherhood a Microphone in Atlanta to what felt like a packed house at The Earl Smith Strand Theatre.

When Miranda and I started this adventure directing and producing Listen To Your Mother, we had no idea what the final product would look like. We hoped people would audition. We hoped people would embrace it. We hoped we could at least fill the front seats of a theatre. We hoped it would succeed. And we did it.

I haven’t properly processed all that happened over the last few days. There will be more to share. But for now, I say THANK YOU to our beautiful, amazing cast, our fabulous national and local sponsors, our local cause, our families, and most of all, our fantastic national LTYM team.

As our founder, Ann Imig, said so eloquently, “When you’re at the edge, that’s where the magic happens.” It just so happens that if you listen close enough, you can HEAR the magic happening.

I heard it for myself on Saturday night.

via Lyssa Sahadevan

via Lyssa Sahadevan

 

Ten Days To Listen To Your Mother: Atlanta

Ten Days To Listen To Your Mother: Atlanta

Today, my co-director/producer Miranda went to do a walk-through with the lighting tech at The Earl Smith Strand Theatre for our show. When she walked out, y’all, THIS was on the marquee.

marquee

It just got real, y’all.

In ten days, TEN DAYS, this event we’ve worked so hard on will be happening.

Have I told you about our cast? I don’t even know where to start. The cast of this show is amazing. I swear you will laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll laugh til you cry, and you may even wet your pants. (Warning: Use the potty before entering)

We’ve held a few rehearsals and it feels like a family now. We laugh and cry together. We’ve heard stories that haven’t yet been told out loud from each other. We are making magic.

castcollage

We’re not professionals. We’re not even all mothers. Heck, one of us is even a guy! But we’re all bonded by our stories, and now by being in the Listen To Your Mother family.

WE WANT TO INVITE YOU TO OUR LTYM FAMILY DINNER TABLE. 

Please join us on Saturday, April 26, at The Earl Smith Strand Theatre in Marietta, at 7pm for a show that celebrates all-things-motherhood. Bring a group or come alone. Bring tissues to wipe tears of laughter and tears of sadness.

I promise you’ll leave wanting more and feeling like a member of the family.

SHOW INFORMATION

{LTYM: Atlanta} Listen Up, Y’all

At BlogHer ’12, I stood on a tiny stage in a small room, surrounded by maybe 300 people and read a post that I wrote about how my life had grown roots over the years. It was part of the Listen To Your Mother Open Mic Salon night, an event that came after the Voices of the Year ceremony.

I knew what I wanted to read so I threw my name into the hat. Ann Imig drew my name to read. First.

I had never read any of my writings before in front of people who weren’t half-asleep high schoolers wondering when the heck the bell was going to ring so they could go make out in the hallway with their boyfriend or girlfriend.

That night at BlogHer, in my red dress, I stood up there and read my words. Words that flowed from my fingers into a piece of writing that I will forever be proud of.

That night, I realized how much I wanted to bring be a part of Listen To Your Mother.

What is LTYM?

LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER features live readings by local writers on the beauty, the beast, and the barely-rested of motherhood, in celebration of Mother’s Day.

Born of the creative work of mothers who publish on-line, each production is directed, produced, and performed by local communities, for local communities.

I watched as the 2013 slate of LTYM cities was announced. Atlanta wasn’t on the list. I’m not sure if that’s because nobody applied or if it was because it just wasn’t chosen. At any rate, I was disappointed and vowed not to let another year slip by without being part of this movement.

When the call for cities opened this year, my friend Miranda and I decided we would speak for Atlanta and yell at the top of our lungs that LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER NEEDS TO COME TO THE PEACH STATE, Y’ALL!

And guess what?

Listen To Your Mother is coming to the ATL.

I am honored, humbled, anxious and so incredibly excited to be co-directing/producing the LTYM: Atlanta show with Miranda Wicker around Mother’s Day of 2014.

For the next six months, we will be working to bring this live show that features REAL mothers talking about REAL motherhood while REAL mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers watch with love, support, and probably tears. We’re giving motherhood a microphone here in Atlanta and we couldn’t be more smitten.

Gather up your mama ‘n them and make plans to spend Mother’s Day with Listen To Your Mother!

To keep up with information on LTYM: Atlanta – news, audition information, ticket and sponsorship information –  follow us in all these places:

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Jana
Jana’s Thinking Place
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Miranda
Finding Walden
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