I’ve told more than a couple of people (read: anyone who would listen) what an incredible experience Sunday’s Listen to Your Mother show was. (In much the same way that, for the last three months, I’ve told pretty much anyone who would listen – and a few others who have probably long since tuned me out – about this cool show I was trying out for/waiting to hear back about/in!)
I’ve now spent the last 48 hours trying to piece together just what Sunday – and this whole experience – has meant to me. I don’t think I’ve fully figured it out yet, but if I don’t write something down soon, the vibrant memories are going to fade to less of a neon color, and I want something that illustrates just how brightly this show has shined in my world. (Or some such tortured metaphor.)
I feel lucky. As I explained in my earlier post, Listen to Your Mother has introduced me to a group of women I may never have met, and my life is so much richer for it. I’ve gained perspective, new inspiration for writing, tons of new blogs to follow, lessons from moms who have been-there-done-that, a new cheering squad, sources of deep belly laughs, and enablers of my chocolate habit.
I feel proud. I did it. I got up in front of an almost full theater and told a story that only a few people had previously read, one that brings me back to some dark days when I was full of fear. I hope that the story resonated for some of the people listening, that I’m not alone in having had some pretty ugly, scary feelings along the way to motherhood. I’m also happy that I was able to tell people about how it feels to be on the other side of that darkness.
But, more than that, I feel humbled. In some ways, Sunday felt a lot like my wedding: a whole bunch of people came to the show mostly to see and support me. Including my mom, who came all the way from Boston, even though I’m going to see her next weekend and the weekend after. Including a friend who’s 38 weeks pregnant and probably wanted no part of sitting in a theater seat on a Sunday afternoon. Including lots of other friends who’d worked all weekend, who drove long ways to the show, who had plenty of other places to be and things to do that day. Including B, who sat among many, many sniffling women to hear me tell what was also a very personal story for him. And then, just as at our wedding, I had only a minute after the show to say hi to each of them and thank them for coming. Thank yous seem inadequate. But thank you for encouraging me, thank you for listening to me talk and write endlessly about this show over the last three months, and thank you for showing up. Wow.
And, I’m feeling the other side of the adrenaline rush. As my fellow cast member Lisa said, the pre-show hours felt very much like the minutes before you get on a roller coaster – that nervous excitement, the jitters of knowing you’re in for a crazy ride (only you don’t know just how crazy it could be). The aftermath has felt a lot like the end of the roller coaster ride, too – when you realize how much fun it was, and all you want to do is ride again. Aside from feverishly reading every Facebook/Twitter/blog post about the day, and trying to set up an immediate cast reunion, I’m left with the question, “now what?” How do I top that?
I wondered at the beginning of this why none of the previous cast members had returned to read in subsequent shows. And now I know: because it was like catching lightning in a bottle. I don’t think I’d want to do this again with a different group of people, amazing as they might be. So I don’t have to top this experience. I just have to savor it — and cheer on next year’s cast, from the audience.