I had been sipping tea with honey all day, hoping my voice would hold out just long enough. I parked in the now familiar underground lot of the San Francisco JCC and rode the elevator to the second floor. I was nervous, but less than I was during that same ride just a few weeks prior.
It was our second and final rehearsal before show day.
I share a lot on this blog. I don't hold much back, wanting to share what it is really like to be a parent. To raise two children, one with special needs. To bridge the gap between typical and different, between my dreams of motherhood and my reality. I may spare you some of the gory details, or reserve some of my uglier moments for the therapist's office, but I don't find it difficult to be honest here.
There is something different about saying the words out loud.
There is no screen between my words and their recipients, no safety net of moderated comments, no understanding whether a typed "LOL" meant that the reader actually laughed out loud or was just being nice. My blog readers are mostly in the same boat, raising their own special needs children. (Or they are my family and friends and have to be nice to me.) But the audience? They could be anybody.
Saying the words, having them leave my heart and make their way directly to people's ears, people who may not have the slightest inkling what I'm talking about, adds something to them. It gives them life. More specifically, it gives them a face: mine. The feedback is instant and the experience is powerful.
Listening to other peoples' stories is even more powerful.
I've learned something listening to the essays that will be read on mother's day. My pain is not the only pain. The gap between dreams and reality exists for all moms. Our laughter comes from the same slightly dark (and often dusty) place. And while we may not experience the same failures and triumphs, we all have something to learn from each other's stories.
First, we need to listen.
Click here for more information or to buy tickets to the 2013 Listen To Your Mother San Francisco performance.