It’s three days to Listen To Your Mother Spokane. The curtain goes up at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. The fear mixed with joy and anticipation and pride and a healthy sprinkling of nerves tingles in my bones.
Dress rehearsal photography by amazing 2011 LTYM Spokane alumnus Kristina.
I try to focus on the moment, the task, the hour in front of me, but the to-do list ticker tape runs constantly in my head flashing red danger! overload! lights behind my eyes.
Proof the programs. Clean the house. Call the videographer. Pull out the summer clothes. Sort. Donate. Wash. Fold. Write an article. Ask Matt to take Quinn to science night. Get hair dyed. Find something to wear. Cake decorating play date.
The cake decorating play date almost killed me this afternoon. I somehow maneuvered all my kids into others’ hands so that I could get a manicure and pedicure this morning and then I promptly ruined the manicure trying on outfits for the show. I left the little boutique across from the nail place in tears, braced into the freezing wind. Two hours alone this morning dedicated solely to getting these two things done and I botched them both, simultaneously, in one ill-advised zipper incident.
And then I stopped and centered on Ann’s words. It’s not about perfection, it’s about the process. It not about me, it’s about these women and their stories and that person in the audience who will hear her own story – maybe one she’s afraid to tell – spoken aloud. It’s about the bonds that form in that place where everyone lowers their protective force fields and allows others inside.
The elementary school’s spring carnival is Friday night and the Cake Walk is the star attraction. Saige and Garrett have been designing their cakes for weeks. I hosted the requested decorating play date and I didn’t die despite the green frosting and piles of candy and children wielding green-frosting coated knives. The little girl’s mom was lovely and blessedly just as greasy-frosting-adverse as I am. I wanted to kiss her on the mouth when she gingerly requested wet wipes and wiped her daughter’s hands between slatherings. Kindred. Spirit.
We’re never alone, even in something as simple as hatred of frosting. Certainly not in an undertaking like LTYM, with my fabulous co-producer, Elise, at my side and the love of all of the other producers and directors spilling all over the internet and the casts of shows that have already happened trying to describe the magic of it. That’s the whole point. That’s the heart of it. We aren’t alone.
I talked to someone yesterday about an aspect of my life that makes me sad and I heard my own voice call my emotions ridiculous. “It’s ridiculous, I know,” I said, clutching my long-cold paper Starbucks cup in my interlaced fingers, fighting the tears that wanted to fall.
“Why do you say that? What would you say to Garrett if he came to you and said that some kids at school made him sad and he was afraid to go back?”
“I’d say that he has to go back, but we’d talk to them. We’d find a way to make it work. And I’d say that it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be scared.”
It’s okay to be scared. Astonishing things happen outside of our comfort zones. Force fields down.
May those seats be filled. I know the stories spoken from that podium will be incredible.