Listen to Your Mother (LTYM) can only be described, for me, as perfection. I came home at the end of a blessed ten hour day carrying two bouquets of flowers, a swag bag, a tote bag filled with makeup and hair products, my high heeled shoes and a bottle of wine. More significantly, though, I came home with an overwhelming feeling of elation. I felt vital, giddy and simultaneously revved up and exhausted. Perfection.
To say the five month journey was life changing is an understatement. I can't begin to describe the joy, vibrance and gratitude I feel at having been a part of such an extraordinary production and stellar group of people. People who shared their stories. People who shared their motherhood, their loss, their love and vulnerability.
It's tough to describe perfection. It means something different to everyone.
According to Google, perfection is defined as the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects. There you have it. In MY eyes, from MY perspective, LTYM was perfect. Maybe there was a flaw or a defect somewhere between the hours of 10am when I left the house and 7pm when I got home. But I couldn't see one. Not one.
All I saw was:
Truth ~ Truth in the words and stories of my castmates and producers. Truth in sore feet from our heels. Truth in the encouragement shared between all of us. Truth in the way we all wanted one another to succeed. No competition here, just true desire for each one of us to soar.
Beauty ~ Beauty in each story told, in each hug and laugh, in each nervous giggle before the show. Pete can giggle! Beauty in the hair and makeup and lack thereof. Beauty in our collective nerves. Beauty in our collective strength. Beauty in this new family we have created. The collective.
Love ~ Love in each pre-show squeeze on an arm saying 'You will rock this,' love in the smiles of encouragement before and after we went on stage, love coming right back at us from the audience. Love from our people sending us love through texts and video chats.
Strength ~ Strength to go on stage in front of family, friends and strangers and one another. Strength to be vulnerable. Strength to tell personal stories; some funny, some sad, some so powerful they took all we had to tell them. Strength in being a part of the LTYM alumni who had been there before, who were there that day, waiting with open arms of welcome. Strength to get into the arena and be who we are, naked (you know what I mean,) a bit afraid, and invigorated too. Strength of audience members who approached us afterwards and said "Me too."
Gratitude. Gratitude for listening to our inner voices and submitting our essays for consideration. Gratitude to be called to audition. Gratitude for getting the email - THE EMAIL - saying welcome. Welcome. Gratitude for Melisa and Tracey, our fearless leaders who offered their support, guidance, love, hugs, cupcakes (THE CUPCAKES,) their wisdom, their funny, themselves.
Gratitude for meeting new people, from all over Chicago, some of us similar, some of us different, yet now connected. Gratitude for being able to share with and love these new people in a way I never knew I could. Gratitude for my friends and my family that came to support me. Little old me. Gratitude for my Hubs who took an early flight from a golf trip to come see me. Gratitude for my kiddos for loving me and hugging me and telling me they are PROUD of me. And gratitude for my mother, my powerful mother, who made it all possible.
So, when faced with so much perfection, all in one day, how do you blend that with reality? It wasn't easy to go back to reality on Monday morning. I missed my 12, I wanted them to be in my kitchen, laughing with me, reading their stories. Alas, with no flowers, no nerves, no makeup... I had to make the lunches, clean the kitchen and get ready for work. I was high on life but missing LTYM fiercely.
And I stopped. Midway through my first of three cups of coffee, I remembered what Tracey said after the show when I told her I wasn't ready for this to end. She said, "Nina, this is reality now." Huh. This is reality now. Yes it is. The cliche "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened," is not so cliche anymore.
I am smiling because this happened. I loved every minute of my perfect experience, our perfect experience. I'm allowing the truth, beauty, love, strength, gratitude and my version of perfection to take hold of my life and guide me. This is reality now.
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