Of Strawberries and Microphones

Berry picker

Berry picker

Last weekend, Daniel and I went to a local farm and picked strawberries.  It was a blustery day, very unusual for May in North Carolina.  Daniel was so excited. Honestly, so was I. I’m not sure I’d ever picked my own berries before, and we’re fortunate to have several farms in the area that allow you to do so.

I quickly schooled Daniel on how to identify ripe berries vs unripe ones.  That explanation mostly worked.  I was left holding the pail as my super-fast little boy’s fingers nimbly plucked berries from the vine.  He might have picked a few green berries by mistake, and he definitely ate more than a few berries as he picked them. I gave up preventing him from eating them and tried to keep him from putting half-eaten berries in our bucket.

It only 20 minutes, we had a huge bucket filled with strawberries for which we paid only $10. Daniel tried to carry the heavy bucket to our car but after he left a trail of berries in his wake, I convinced him to let me carry the bucket.

I used some of the berries in daycare lunches for the week but was at a loss at what to do with the remaining strawberries before they went bad because I knew Daniel would want to go pick berries again and soon.  As I was prepping for the Listen to Your Mother cast party last Wednesday, I was inspired to bring along the remaining berries.  They had been picked by Daniel and he had more or less listened to my instructions, so it seemed right to have them at the party, like a little token from him.

***

Listen to Your Mother. Y’all.  I don’t even know where to begin or how to find the words. The cast was amazing and read flawlessly. It was so gratifying to hear the audience laugh at the parts that made us laugh and cry at the parts that devastated us. Our sold-out (!) audience was very into the show, and it felt like we were performing for family and friends. OK, many of us were, but there was an intimacy in the hall, and it was possible to connect one on one – a glance here, a smile there – with the audience.

I am so damn proud of us and the show we put on.  That these 14 women and 1 man were able to swallow their fears, doubts and anxieties and bare their souls. To be brave, to use the word of the night. It’s one thing to write something, publish it and walk away. It’s another to stand up in front of a crowd and read it, exposing the most vulnerable parts of you.

But this cast did it and knocked it out of the damn park.

Mingling with my pride is a wee bit of sadness. It’s like the day after Christmas, when you have the let down after weeks of euphoria and anticipation. I can’t believe the show is over and that 14 people came to mean so much to me in such a short period of time.  But we’ve converted our FB group to an alumni group, and I hope that we can continue to stay in touch.  I can’t imagine any of us would turn turn away the possibility of more friends.

There are pictures to come and the full video will be on YouTube in a few weeks, but for now, check out show photographer Jess Rotenberg’s post on the show with a few gorgeous pictures.

Too often motherhood is portrayed in the media as black and white: you’re either good, perfect and saintly or bad, selfish and neglectful. In reality, though, we know that motherhood is complicated. Mothers are complicated. It’s not and we are not black and white. There are many, many, many shades of gray and I am honored that we were able to give a microphone to these amazing women and man so that they could tell their stories.

Beautiful flowers from the cast after the show

Beautiful flowers from the cast after the show

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