Last year, at this exact time, I was approached by this new Lehigh Valley group called, Listen To Your Mother. Right off the bat, I thought it was just another solicitation for my photography services. Me trading my services to be a “sponsor” for the event. No pay. Just a trade to get my name on the podium at an event where 12 people talk about ‘motherhood’ and where I’d be the “official photographer” for the event; right around Mother’s Day. I agreed, of course (Why not? Get my name out there more, right?). How bad could it be. Just a few hours of shooting some people reading from their hearts about what motherhood means to them. I had no clue what it was about.
I remembered being asked to come to the event for the rehearsal about 2 hours before the live event to see where I’d set up and where I’d get the best shot of the podium. It was in a movie theater at the Steel Stacks in Bethlehem, PA. I was playing with my equipment, lighting, batteries, CF-cards, and my lenses as the first woman took the stage….and began her story. Boom! Each of the 12 spoke for about 5-7 minutes each about becoming a mom, childbirth, death of mom, not wanting to be a mom, depression, autism, you name it….one after another, they came up and poured their hearts out through tears, forced smiles, laughter, anxiety, and courage! I was blown away!! And extremely emotional!! How the heck was I going to get through this….I literally had to hide behind my camera the rest of the day. Laughing and wiping my tears (thankful for “stabilization” in my camera!), as I listened to these wonderfully written stories of Love, Hope, Joy, Sadness, all circling around Motherhood!!
Little did I know, one year later, I’d audition for one of those 12 spots to write and read a story about my own mom. I got the gig!! This time without my camera.
I needed an outlet to tell my story. To write what I’ve been feeling for the past 10 years since losing my mom. To cancer. Five weeks from diagnosis to death. Five weeks.
I sat down and began to write, and it just poured out of me. I wanted to tell the story of my mother’s last day with us. The feelings, the pain, the moment she took her last breath. My story may touch you, resemble your own story, have nothing to do with you, hurt you, heal you, encourage you, make you cry, make you smile, make you want to go home and call your mom, or not. But it will be told.
This outlet, Listen To Your Mother, gives anyone the opportunity to write a piece about motherhood…any way you see it. You’ll hear stories about childbirth, vagina’s, depression, the toddler years, the college years, you name it. I chose to write about my sweet mom. I wanted my three daughters to know how much I truly loved her. How much our souls were connected. How much she meant to me. And how the hole that is left in my heart is filled with being a mom to them!
I want you to know that, too.
If you are around on April 24th, at 2pm, and want to spend a few hours in the afternoon listening to our stories, you can get tickets here: LTYM Lehigh Valley Here are some stories from last year: LTYM National. And if you are reading this and not from the Lehigh Valley, see the chart below for a show in or near your city.
I can’t wait to share my story.
Listen To Your Mother (LTYM) is a national series of live readings by local writers in celebration of Mother’s Day. Each production is directed, produced, and performed by local communities, for local communities.
Each LTYM show donates a minimum of 10% of ticket proceeds to local causes. The second annual Lehigh Valley show will benefit Third Street Alliance for Women and Children in Easton.
What started as a single LTYM show in Madison, Wisconsin in 2010 has grown into a coast-to-coast phenomenon, with 41 cities participating in 2016 (including our first Canadian show!). Our anthology, Listen To Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now, was published last spring by Putnam Books.
Recommended for ages 13+. Performance lasts 90 minutes without intermission.