Over the weekend, I auditioned for Listen To Your Mother, a national series of live readings in celebration of Mother’s Day.
It was not my best.
I got lost finding the venue (“Siri, you suck!”), then stood in the rain until the doors opened as I chugged Gatorade and aspirin after a night of muscle spasms and projectile vomit courtesy food poisoning from the previous night’s Chinese New Year dinner. Oh, and all of that lovely stomach bile? Fan-Freakin-Tastic for my fried vocal cords which were already on strike thanks to an ill-timed RA flare that made me sound like a cross between a veteran chain smoker and pre-pubescent boy.
So before I even walked into the room, I had written the audition off. Chalked it up to an experience as I planned the rest of the day. OK, so this afternoon, I’ll pick Nick up from his birthday party…Gabe needs a haircut…Olivia needs hair…maybe we should take the kids swimming to burn off some energy…
“NADINE…come on in.”
Be here now. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and remembered the words of Paula Killen, my first storytelling coach who had put me on this path.
“Every story is a gift.”
Yeah…30 seconds into this piece and it was clear that this gift needed to be returned. I was stinking up the place with tried-and-true laugh lines that were bombing, and my blistering pace brazenly ignored pesky little things like punctuation and “moments.” My inner critic was having a field day: Hey, are they scowling at you? Of course they are! You’re terrible!!!! Wait, did she just check her watch? 2 more pages to go… What were you thinking? Just get through this already and let these nice women get on with their day…
Around the 4th time my voice cracked, I had an epiphany.
My story was a gift – to myself.
The last few months with Nick had been challenging. He reveled in dancing on the last of my last nerves as we stumbled through the minefield of six-on-the-way-to-seven. He was doing the two-step-one-step dance with us – two little steps backwards (“Nick, why would you climb on top of the car and slide down the windshield? How is that a good choice?”), then one giant step forward (“Nick, you turned off the stove, took the eggs out, put them on everyone’s plate and made the toast? Um, wow!!).
On his two-step days, I wondered I was really cut out for this whole motherhood thing. I was really bad at it – critical, sarcastic, impatient, dismissive…Where was that bottomless well of patience, understanding and unconditional love? Oh right, I drained it yesterday when he used the shower head to spray the entire bathroom, floor to ceiling, and adjoining bedroom with water because he wanted to see how far the water would travel…while he was singing. (“Party people in the HOUSE tonight! Everybody just have a GOOD TIME!”)
The story I had chosen was a chance to remember how much I love this kid, no matter what.
Well, it turns out that the gods were smiling on me that day because I was invited to join the cast of this year’s LTYM. It’s an amazing group of women and I am truly honored – and shocked – to be in such great company.
Here are the details:
Sunday, May 5, 2013
The Athenaeum Theatre
2936 N Southport Ave., Chicago
Last year tickets sold out in a week. No pressure, right?
More information (including ticket purchase) will be posted here.
Hope to see you there!