Listen to Your Mother Cast

Listen To Your Mother

Tracey Columns

Heads up! I am about to repeat myself. Just wanted you all to know it wasn’t age setting in, in spite of the fact that I am well aware of how age is setting in. Anyhow …

Last month, I wrote about auditioning in Portland for “Listen To Your Mother,” a show that features live readings by writers “on the beauty, the beast, and the barely-rested of motherhood, in celebration of Mother’s Day.”  Beginning as a one time performance in Madison, Wisconsin, this show has spread like proverbial wildfire, from coast to coast and all points in between, with each show benefiting local organizations. (Our production will contribute to the Portland’s Women’s Crisis Line. See this week’s Good News post below.) After the live performances, the stories are then broadcast on YouTube. ( ) This year, thirty-two cities will be hosting their own LTYM performances and I am a happy member of the Portland cast.

I think what makes the concept of this show so interesting is the goal: to explore the topic of motherhood from every imaginable perspective. The stories are richly varied. Perhaps one comes from a biological mother, another from an adoptive mother, and still another from a woman who chose not to become a mother at all. Men share stories, as do children. There are stories of hope, discovery, and despair. Motherhood — it’s a fascinating topic that can be approached from endlessly different directions. 

We had our first rehearsal last weekend. Prior to this fateful Saturday, we’d spent the last few weeks trading thoughts, questions, and yes, fears, via Facebook. Yet in spite of our brains spinning at warp speed over what we had all signed up to do, there’s also been a rather instantaneous camaraderie! And why not? Fourteen women, of all different ages, each with her own unique story, bound together by sensitivity and plenty of humor, were all coming together with one common purpose — to share our stories. The first rehearsal, as well as the entire experience, had promise written all over it.

That Saturday morning we seemed to settle into our director’s lovely, welcoming house without any fuss or muss. Finally, we were able to match all of the Facebook photos and words with in-the-flesh people. It was a grand time of discovery. Laughter was abundant!

One by one, we listened to each other’s stories. Some were hilariously funny, some brought us to tears but each story was a tender glimpse into a life and there were plenty of lessons to be learned.  

For me, this was one of those times when I appreciated my age and the perspective it offers. (Pretty sure  I was the oldest one there, hands down.) While I recognized myself and my younger life in many of these women’s stories, I was happy to be beyond the natural struggles that come with raising kids. But more than my appreciation for days gone by, and of the life I now enjoy, these women reminded me of just how much goes into living each and every day. Stop for a moment and review everything you have made your way through in your lifetime. I bet it’s impressive! So many of us spend our lives caring for others, listening, tending, working, and then starting all over again the very next day. Hearing these powerful and touching stories, I was reminded of our capacity to get through life’s most difficult challenges. It isn’t always easy, nor pretty, but that little spark that somehow propels people through difficulty is truly a thing to be admired.

I also appreciated the humor and laughter we all shared that day! It felt comforting and somehow reassuring. Our ability to laugh at ourselves, as well as our circumstances, is also a terribly worthwhile trait.

Wherever you live, check out ‘Listen To Your Mother’ to see if you can to join in the fun! And to my Pacific Northwest friends, I hope to see you on Mother’s Day, May 11, at the Alberta Rose Theater. (You may purchase your tickets online at:

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