A few weeks ago I wrote about my audition for LTYM (Listen To Your Mother) but there were so many things going on that week including the passing of my uncle and a possessed dishwasher that decided to spew forth water with the voracity of that poor child from the Exorcist that I didn’t give the story the attention it deserved.
Since that time, I’ve learned that I did, in fact, make it in to the big show. Yay! My reaction? Joy, tears and gratitude followed by flop sweat, nerves, the desire to lose 20 pounds and I may have even peed just a teeny tiny bit. ‘Cause this thing, folks, is a big deal.
What is Listen To Your Mother? From the official website: “Celebrating Mother’s Day with a national series of original live-readings shared on local stages and via social media.” Each show is individually produced and all the shows are performed in May. This year, 24 cities will be participating. Through generous sponsors and ticket sales, a portion of the proceeds from each show will go to a local charity. On Saturday, May 11th, I’ll be speaking at the show in Kansas City at Unity Temple on the Plaza. For more information or to buy tickets, click HERE.
Speaking. I’ll be. . . speaking. *gulp*
Okay, so, it’s not like I’ll have to memorize my lines or perform an interpretive dance number while a Sarah McLachlan tune pours out of the speakers, but it’s still just as scary.
I’m a writer. I hide behind my laptop, usually wearing Hello Kitty pajama pants, and relish in the ability to backspace to my heart’s content until I get the words just right. In social situations I’m shy, withdrawn and on more than one occasion I’ve heard, “You’re funnier on Twitter and Facebook.” Thank you. . . question mark?
Before I sent in my written submission to LTYM, I knew the show would be live, and even though my personal awkwardness is only eclipsed by my ability to put my foot in my mouth at every conceivable turn, I didn’t think twice about it. My LTYM moment will be an amazing opportunity to meet strong women with a story to tell. I’m excited to physically and metaphorically hold their hands through this process. First and foremost, however, it’s a chance for me to pay it forward, raise awareness and celebrate the life of my daughter, Katie, who has taught me to be fearless.
For those of you new to this blog, or my family, my daughter was diagnosed with a rare brain disorder when she was just 13 months old. The disorder, Vein of Galen Malformation (VOGM) is so rare, we sought treatment in New York on four separate occasions so a delicate endovascular embolization treatment could be performed. Katie is deemed cured and other than permanent g-force restrictions and a few prominent veins on her face, shows no signs of the three years of hell we went through on the journey to the cure. I’ve always said, “She won the battle, but my husband and I will always remember the war.”
On May 14th, we will celebrate the 5-year anniversary of the cure. Every year we acknowledge the date with a small token of remembrance. Last year she got to pick out a big honkin chocolate muffin. This year I’ve already told her she gets a whole cake. She’s already counting down the days. Counting down the days till she gets cake. She is SO my child.
For seven minutes on May 11th, I will stand at a podium and read my original submission. While the spotlight shines on my shaky form, I will do my best not to cry. . . too much. . . and shine a spotlight on a devastating diagnosis that is still foreign to so many doctors, neurologists and unsuspecting parents. My hope is that someone in the audience that night or someone who watches it on YouTube will tuck the information away and use it later to recognize the signs and save a child.
Why did I audition for Listen To Your Mother? Because fear stood in my way once on the journey to the cure. It won’t stand in my way again.