There is an interesting phenomena among certain people (or maybe just me) called “anticipatory crying.” This is when you know something is going to make you cry and knowing that you’ll be crying then makes you cry now. And everyone wonders, Why is she crying? because the thing you’re talking about now is not sad.
That is one of the things you’ll see in my Listen To Your Mother video. Other things you will see: a wardrobe malfunction, a burst of song, my tendency to talk with my hands when I’m on stage, why I should have worn a dress with sleeves if I’d really thought about the angle of the camera.
The entire Providence performance of LTYM was one of those things that comes along now and then in life where I get to feel more deeply and wholly myself. I never expected to be in such amazing company and I can’t say enough about them. Which is why I’m going to list ALL their videos here so you can see what kind of wonderfulness I’m talking about.
Of course, I was last in the show and I’ve put myself first (ha!) but otherwise I’ll go in order. I encourage you to scroll through and find a few that sound interesting to you. You won’t regret it.
Kirsten, like so many others, speaks with real openness about the parts of motherhood and daughter-hood that can be hard to admit. Sometimes children are difficult. And some of us were very difficult children.
I immediately felt a strong kinship to Brianne. As a special-needs parent whose child may not be special-needs one day, these are the feelings I’ve had a lot. Plus I love quirky people, being one myself.
Our co-producer Laura has been a huge force behind our success. The optimism of her piece, her ability to recognize the gifts she has from her children, is something I aspire to.
Jennifer is brave in the best way. Breasts are not exactly the kind of subject that’s allowed among polite company. And sharing the traumas that can make your body feel like it isn’t your own takes a lot of courage. Her words are not just brave but bright.
It turns out that Phyllis lives not far from me and I shudder to think we never would have met if it weren’t for this. Her piece, on understanding her mother better through her own experience giving birth, is one I really relate to.
Marian is our resident poet. I loved her pieces, sprinkled throughout the show. Some focus on the sublime in the every day and others take on big, unanswerable questions.
If you know me you’ve probably heard me talk about Lexi at some point. I’ve written about some of our adventures together. She is a force of nature and she writes so well it kind of makes me crazy. This is one of her most popular essays, with good reason.
At our first read-through, I remember looking down the table at Lauren, who was way far away from me, and thinking she looked awfully cute and kind and I wondered if her piece would be the kind of cutesy thing these shows sometimes contain. I was completely wrong in the best way. Her essay about her experience with international adoption is insightful and brave and full of love. Even if it has a cutesy title.
Sitting next to Lauren at our first read-through was Alicia. They are both a lesson in not judging a book by its cover. And none of us expected a story of such raw emotion and power and pain to come from someone who looked so small and pretty. I know of many women online who share their stories of addiction bravely and Alicia belongs among their elevated ranks. Her story tells you a lot about what motherhood is really about.
Having Stephanie follow Alicia was a stroke of brilliance. After the power and visceral emotion in Alicia’s essay everyone needs a little bit of a laugh. But they don’t get that. With Stephanie they are simply overcome by laughter. I strongly suspect that Stephanie is just a couple steps away from being famous because it’s not just her hilarious tale but her vibrant personality that absolutely win you over.
Carla, our other co-producer, is in some ways our mother hen. She’s been a cheerleader and great support from day one. I am not the only one who finds myself thinking of a line in her piece over and over again.
So Kelly. Just hearing Kelly’s voice makes tears come to my eyes. I can never get her essay out of my head. So full of love and loss, it took me until the actual day of the show to be able to get through listening to it without full-on tears streaming down my face. What I really love about her piece is the beauty of the way she strings words together, the softness of her voice, as if she’s telling you a beautiful fairy tale.
Jackie had the misfortune of having to read after Kelly. But fortunately Jackie is a force of nature. Already an author and one of those women who is just obviously good at everything she does and who always has every situation in hand, she shares something every mother has had to do and hated with every ounce of her soul: taking children grocery shopping.
Any one of these videos is worth a few minutes. All of them together will let you relive our Providence show in all its wonderful glory. I miss all these ladies every day and I’m hugely thankful for the gifts I received from their stories and their wonderful selves.