We all lined up waiting to walk out on stage. Fourteen of us. All beautiful in our own ways, inside and out. Then we started walking. I held my breath. I wasn’t really nervous. Just excited to finally share my story. One of my favorites I have ever written on this blog.
The Random Placement of People is something I wrote in 2010. Landon was two-years-old and Brigham was five-months-old. It was a challenging time in our lives, which is putting it lightly. Brigham was constantly sick and Landon, well, he was two. You catch my drift, mothers.
But on one particularly awful day, I was gifted perspective by a stranger in the pharmacy. It was so unexpected but exactly what I needed to hear. Sometimes I wonder . . . will that old man ever know what he did for me? Will that old man ever know that I will never forget him – or the story of his wife and children?
I took my seat on stage and waited my turn to speak. As I waited, I listened to my fellow cast-mates. It was amazing. There were 300 people staring back at us but they read their truths with such power. We all have different realities, yet we were all united during those two precious hours.
We cried together. We laughed together. I watched as audience members pulled tissues out of their purses. We mourned the loss of a husband. We laughed at a story of mom’s night out at the gun range. We felt the pain of hearts broken with a devastating diagnosis. We held hands as a mom explained what postpartum depression is really like. And my story, a story about finding perspective in a seemingly selfish world. All these moments. All these lives. We didn’t know each other when these stories unfolded. But now our stories remain forever entangled in each other. Because there was one common denominator. They all represent overcoming the challenges of motherhood.
When it was my turn and I reached the hard part in my reading, my voice cracked as I held back tears. I don’t know why that moment in the pharmacy still breaks me. I suppose it opens the wound of my deepest fears – that I could lose that which is most precious to me – my children. But that moment in the pharmacy also taught me to hug harder, love harder, celebrate the good.
I finished my piece and the applause was so loud it echoed the halls afterward. I felt pride. I felt good about myself. I felt as if I had peppered the audience with a bit of sadness and happiness in a big old mixed up world. But the thing is – the Listen to Your Mother show makes the world smaller, if only for a couple hours. These voices are important. This show proves it.
As mothers we have a choice. Even if you’re not in a show you can still tell your stories. You can still share the hard moments with friends and family. It doesn’t make us weak. What may seem like a mundane day could be just what someone else needed to hear. The truth matters to moms. It gives us hope.
Listen to Your Mother was in 24 cities and I was lucky enough to be a part of it. Blessed to meet these fourteen women. Blessed to hear their words and witness their strength.
When we finished, multiple people stopped me to tell me how my story resonated with them. How it made them nod their heads and say, yeah, me too. How it made them appreciate what they have.
That’s all I wanted. I’m not looking for fame and fortune. I’m just a simple girl with a knack for storytelling. I hope the old man in the pharmacy changes you as much as he did me. I will never forget him. Just like I’ll never forget this show or the women who held back nothing.
All photos courtesy of Karen Ledford Photography