I woke up on Mother’s Day with three thoughts.
1. I have to get off Level 65 on Candy Crush, but I don’t think it’s humanly possible.
2. Dear Lord, I hope this isn’t the year that my kids decide to surprise me with breakfast in bed because I’m much too crumb-conscious to ever enjoy that.
3. What the hell was I thinking, signing up to read in Listen to Your Mother NYC?!
Don’t get me wrong, I was excited to get cast, but now that I had to go and read on stage in front of other people, pre-imagined in their underwear, I was starting to panic. I did some back of the envelope calculations and figured that Reading on Stage was less relaxing than Sitting on Couch.
What do I need this headache for? I wondered, in my despair ending a thought with a preposition.
I thought of some ways I could get out of it.
I could feign an illness or an injury. I had my son’s baseball game to attend that morning and there is always a 50/50 chance that I’d get hit with a ball. Sure, I’d never gotten hit with the ball before, but I thought I could improve my chances if I was allowed to catch for an inning or two. Unfortunately, the coach nixed that plan, some nonsense about “only League members” and “children” being allowed to play.
So with my plan and life ruined, I had no choice but to report to the stage.
“Break a leg!” friends threatened throughout the day.
“Fuck you!” I replied.
Finally the big moment arrived.
The whole cast was backstage, some of them eating snacks as though vomiting on stage wasn’t a definite option.
“Usually I don’t have any allergies,” I started to bore everybody in a way that I hoped they’d remember as a “soothing”, “but on the subway over, my eyes were really itchy. Like REALLY itchy. And also watery. I don’t know. I decided to buy some Claritin when I got out, but then my eyes stopped being itchy and watery. Could I be allergic to the subway? Who knows! Anyway, I didn’t even take the Claritin. Who needs it, ha ha!”
No one really responded, probably overwhelmed by my profound thoughts.
And then it was show time!
I was in Act One, which meant that I got to sit on stage during the entire Act and listen to show. It was very humbling to be sharing the stage (for the others, I mean.) Really, though, it was an incredible experience to be on the same stage (in case you weren’t sure what sharing in the previous sentence meant) with so many talented performers and writers, some of whom also happen to be dear friends. I had the privilege of hearing Rebecca read a piece that makes me tear up every time I hear it, and Sasha Schreiner’s essay that reminded me about the power of words.
There were others. So many others that made me laugh and smile and nod and cry and blow my nose while trying to look dainty.
And I got to be part of this group. I got to read my piece (coming soon to the Listen to Your Mother YouTube channel!) and it was so important to me. I read a slightly revised (to make me look better and slimmer) version of this post. And then I got to talk to audience members after, who told me that they could so relate to the horrors of calls from school and that I was basically a saint and a gift to the universe for writing about it so bravely (or words to that effect, I don’t walk around with a stenographer).
It was an amazing night.
And it was the first time that my parents, husband and children heard me read. I’m pretty sure they thought I was illiterate until then.
It was also the first time that I told my real life friends about my reading and I was stunned by how many showed up. My friend Charlotte, my friends and book group cohorts, Susan C., Susan W., Lara and Ines and my mah jongg ladies, Robyn and Jeanine.
This is the concluding paragraph where I wrap it all up in a bow and make you reflect on motherhood. Unfortunately, I’m already exhausted, so that’s not happening.
But I have to say a huge thank you to Ann Imig, who came up with the whole Listen to Your Mother concept and is its National Director. In addition to being an incredible humorist, and the brains and heart behind LTYM, she has also been a really amazing friend to me (and no, that’s not why I was cast in the show. I worked the casting couch like everyone else in NYC.)
I’ll never forget Mother’s Day 2013. Unless I get dementia or something, but why did you have to bring that up and end everything on a sour note?! Sheesh. This is why no one likes you.