Listen To Your Mother: The Epilogue

The story of how I became involved in the Listen To Your Mother Show, well, it’s kind of complicated. I stumbled upon Ann Imig’s blog in 2009 and decided we were soul sisters, because of this post. (Her total unawareness of my existence was a minor detail). One year later, she would create the first ever Listen To Your Mother Show. I watched a couple of the You Tube videos from that show and thought, “This is really cool. People are sharing some seriously real sh*t and it’s beautiful and important.” I didn’t even have a baby yet. I was, in fact, ambivalent about ever having kids. But I knew Special and Awesome when I saw it.

Fast forward a few years later and I was sitting at the kitchen table with a glass of white wine and my laptop, a warm fall breeze blowing through the window while my seven month old slept. I’d had one of those nurse, diaper change, attempt nap, endure crying, abort nap, repeat type days. It was the kind of day that makes you want to punch the next person who looks at your child, smiles at you, and then tells you to enjoy every minute. Mindless web surfing led me to the The Listen To Your Mother Show’s call for new cities. The application was due October 15th by 11:59 CST, no exceptions. Seriously, it said “no exceptions” in bold. It was about 8pm in Boulder. Which meant I had three hours in which to request, complete, and submit the application. This left me approximately two seconds to decide whether I actually wanted to create a Listen To Your Mother Show. I don’t know if it was the Chardonnay or divine intervention, but I had a feeling it was no coincidence that this opportunity had presented itself to me that night.

The application asked me who I might team up with. I considered leaving that question blank. I’d already admitted I had twelve Twitter followers on my application. It seemed unwise to make myself look even more friendless. But whose name could I write in that blank? I figured the person had to be a mother and a writer. Also, they should be someone I at least liked. Except the application said not to pick a friend, but rather someone you knew you could work with as a team. Joelle was the only person I could think of.  I called her and asked if it was ok. I’m not sure if I even fully explained what Listen To Your Mother was. I just wanted her to know that if this thing actually happened, I would need some help, but not too much help, just some, and anyway this was not a commitment, it was more me checking in to see if I would be totally lying if I put her name down.

A couple weeks later, I received an email from Ann Imig- my blogosphere idol- telling me my application had been accepted. I was scappy. (Scared + Happy = Scappy). I felt like I might throw up. I told my mom. I told Dan. I still needed to tell Joelle. Telling her would make it real, and that scared me a little.

Then I had to write a bio for the Listen To Your Mother website. This scared me a lot. The producers in the other cities were writers- like real writers- who had authored books and written for Huffington Post, and they had professional head shots. I had a blog and a picture from our friends’ wedding that I cropped my husband out of. And then I got the 50 page production manual and I got really scared. We were going to have to find a venue, publicize auditions, choose a cast, secure corporate sponsorships, send a press release (I didn’t really know what a press release was. It sounded fancy), select a cast, hold rehearsals, advertise the show, and the list went on and on and on.

Fast forward seven months. The morning of the show I called Joelle.
“I couldn’t sleep last night!”
“Me either. I was kind of freaking out.”
“Me too, but I was also excited. I felt like it was the night before my wedding day.”
“Me too!”

There was so much energy behind every aspect of this show. And then the show happened, and with it rose up a wellspring of love, gratitude, and community. Before the show, getting dressed, doing our makeup, snacking, drinking a little Prosecco, and going to the bathroom one last time together, we felt like old friends. On stage, there was something magical about the way each of us got up there and NAILED. IT.

I didn’t need the praise of audience members in the lobby after the show, or the post-show emails or texts to prove it (though they were all so very welcome). I didn’t need to hear the applause to prove it either. There was an unmistakeable feeling so strong that I didn’t feel the significance of what we had created; rather I knew it.

After an experience like that, you just need to decompress.  If the day felt like our wedding day, surely the next day, we needed a honeymoon. But we didn’t take one. And now, several days later, I’m not sure what I need. Maybe a martini? The kind of workout that leaves my lungs and legs burning, perhaps? Thankfully the Urban Ten Miler I signed up for this Sunday should take care of the latter. And I do have some vermouth in the cabinet and Tito’s vodka in the freezer to address the former. I thought I might feel some joy in kicking my feet up to relax after the show had been put to bed, but instead I feel lost, sad, and a little bored.

I used to think only boring people experienced boredom. I have now widened my circle of bored people to include not just The Boring but also those who are coming down from the sky-high, like outerspace-high high that results from co-producing a Listen To Your Mother Show. You can’t not feel low after you’ve had a high like that. But I would take this low any day to experience that kind of high. 

Did this opportunity pick me, that random fall night when I was feeling so insignificant? Or am I assigning way too much meaning to some random internet surfing?  I’m not sure. But I will always be grateful I decided to meet the internet halfway and complete the application.

I’m grateful to Ann Imig for ignoring the fact that I had a mere twelve Twitter followers and accepting my application anyway.

I’m grateful to my co-producer, Joelle, for taking it on with me, and in doing so, subtracting fear from the equation, for being the calm yin to my high-strung yang, and for the cute emoticons. 

I’m grateful to our cast for sharing their hearts with our audience (and later this summer on the LTYM You Tube Channel).

I’m grateful to our audience for being there to receive it. 

I’m grateful to whatever it was in the universe that didn’t let the fact that I was scared of virtually every part of this project keep me from diving in. 

6 thoughts on “Listen To Your Mother: The Epilogue

  1. Rochelle Fritsch says:

    Nothing like the LTYM experience. NOTHING. Kudos to you for leading the charge in Boulder…you’ve changed a lot of lives — not just those of the cast members, but the folks in the audience too!

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  2. Stephanie Sprenger says:

    I am so thrilled your show went well and everyone nailed their performances! I can’t wait to watch it on YouTube! Seriously- hours and hours of watching LTYM are in my future this summer!And you know what’s funny? I had the same wedding metaphor that whole night! Wish there’d been a honeymoon- I’m sad that it’s over!

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  3. Joelle Wisler says:

    “Scappy” is an awesome word for this whole experience. And I think next year, we leave the kids with our parents, and go to some tropical island this week with our husbands to avoid our “post-show let down!”

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  4. priscilla Dann-Courtney says:

    Pam,You are a beautiful writer and one heck of a producer! I have to say Monday I was both exhausted and exhilarated as I listened to my clients stories. Our group was one wonderful group and I loved how close we felt after sharing our stories, there was just no bull-shit to wade through after that, we were our true selves! See you at the viewing. all my love, Priscillame

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