Boss, friend, coach, mediator, therapist, cheerleader, protector, chef, doctor – add this all up, subtract sleep, multiply it by love, and don’t try to divide it because you can’t, and you get: mom. Often we forget how cool our moms are (my mom is really awesome), and even mothers themselves forget. But there is a show that celebrates motherhood by giving it a microphone. It’s called Listen to Your Mother.
The Listen to Your Mother show has locations that take place all over the United States around Mother’s Day each year, and we in Northwest Indiana are able to take part in the show right in downtown Valparaiso at the Memorial Opera House and have been able to for the last five years.
The cast of 11 women took to the stage one by one, sharing their stories that were filled with humor, deep thoughts, nostalgia, and love that is special unto mothers alike.
Rebecca Bailey, a veteran of the show, regaled the audience with her tale of her children “pampering her” in Mama’s Sick Day.
“Working with Lovelyn is wonderful, she’s like the ‘Uber Mom’. I’ve been performing all of my life but this is the first time I’ve done anything funny,” Rebecca said. “It’s an amazing experience making people laugh. Making them happy for even a short amount of time is an incredible feeling.”
Tomi Brzycki had the crowd roaring with laughter as she spoke fondly and humorously about fun memories with her daughters in Memories of a Mother.
“The stories that these women are telling are all amazing because each one is different and each person is different. They are inspiring and uplifting stories,” Tomi said of the cast. “It’s humbling to be part of this group.”
MaryLu Crowley remembered her mom as the wise and giving woman that she was and advised the audience to hold on to precious moments in Listen to Your Mother While You Can.
“I had told my siblings that I was going to white about my mom and this show came around and it was fate,” MaryLu said about how she came to Listen to Your Mother. “This is the best lottery I have ever won in my life. Being with this group of people is truly amazing. I can’t fathom how these 11 women came together and bonded in this short time. This is the best group of people I’ve ever met in my life.”
Jenifer Crane described her experiences of motherhood in different mom-like personalities that described different stages of her journey, firmly stating that Depressed Mom, “Can go suck it,” in her piece The Perfect Mom.
“I love being a mom and I love other moms and encouraging them,” Jenifer said. “We’ve all come together with the connection of motherhood and it’s been amazing.”
Montia Gardner read a powerful poem in which a rock of a woman took on life with grace and confidence in Kingdom Designed.
“I was really looking for a show like this because I wanted to share some writings in a different type of venue and atmosphere. When [Lovelyn] called me back I was ecstatic because this was a great opportunity,” Montia said. “I was so moved by the witty writing of these women and their bold and brass testimonies.”
Alice Harrington, Listen to Your Mother veteran, spoke of the significance that a musical instrument had in her life and her mother’s in My Mother’s Piano.
“I had a wonderful time doing this three years ago and I wanted to come back,” Alice said. “This show allows everybody to share what’s important with moms and families.”
Terri Linden spoke of the joy that came with the adoption of her eighth son in The Missing Piece.
“I wanted to do something daring so I tried out for this. The experience had been wonderful,” Terri said. “I love being a mom. My kids are everything to me.”
Kristin Mantta had everyone laughing so hard they nearly wet their pants, which is what her story was about in Accidents Happen.
“The stories that we all tell are so different but they link together and we all can see ourselves in each other’s stories,” Kristin said. “I hope to make people laugh with the funny moments of motherhood."
Amparo de la Pena, second year veteran, talked about the joys and the awkwardness that comes with a woman’s most differentiating physical attribute in That’s What They’re There For.
“I really couldn’t stay away. I loved the experience so much,” Amparo said. “The piece that I wrote last year inspired people who I never even knew and that has been wonderful… I love working with Lovelyn. She is very sweet.”
Tina Porter is a veteran of the show and she read a letter to her daughters that was moving and thought provoking with Dear Daughters.
“This year is similar to last year in that it’s the same formula that is used in creating these beautiful stories,” Tina said. “It draws people in to see it.”
And finally Lovelyn Palm, Director and Producer of Listen to Your Mother NWI, embraced the diversity and love of her large family in Celebrate.
“Storytelling and motherhood are two of my favorite things,” Lovelyn said. “I love to help give these stories amplification and to give motherhood a microphone. Every story is different and such a neat family develops each year with the comradery that comes with the subject of motherhood.”
When the show concluded, the moms took a bow and left the stage. In the lobby of the Memorial Opera House, the ladies stood in a receiving line as guests stopped to congratulate the women with hugs, smiles, gifts of flowers, and kind words.
“This show was great. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time,” Abby Kaeb said. “All of the women had great stories and I’m really glad I came.”
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!
10% of the show’s proceeds benefitted the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana.
Sponsors: BlogHer, Luvs, Beth Fletcher Photography, Ideas in Motion Media, Von Tobel Lumber and Hardware, Crusader Homes, Boulder Bay Realty Group, Meridian Title Corporation, BoyConn, WildFlour Bakery, Highway 61 Films, Sugarfield Flowers.