LTYM St. Louis Wrap Up: Dayenu
It’s hard to come up with the words to adequately describe my experience with Listen To Your Mother (LTYM), and considering I’m a professional writer, that’s not good. So in times of writer’s block I turn to my Jewish ancestors who express their emotions in Hebrew so succinctly.
If I had to summarize LTYM St. Louis in one word, it would be Dayenu, which translates to “it would have been enough” or “it would have sufficed.” I never thought I would use Dayenu other than at Passover when we sing the festive song by the same name to describe our appreciation of the abundant gifts that God gave us when we escaped slavery.
However, Dayenu captures my feelings about LTYM because it exceeded my expectations in so many ways. I’m truly grateful for everything I learned and everyone I met. And for that I say, Dayenu.
I’m also thankful for:
- If I put together a team of co-producers/directors who were able to pull off a live stage performance that featured speakers who shared original stories about motherhood, it would have been enough. Dayenu.
Instead, I worked with four super talented women, who I now consider my trusted friends, Laura Edwards Ray, Suzanne McDonald Tucker, and Naomi Francis. With our distinct personalities and skills, we all brought something to the table. These powerhouse mamas showed me how to dream BIG, not to mention fall in love with fried artichoke salad.
- If I had an opportunity to boost my career and network with other successful mom bloggers and writers from across the country, including the LTYM founder Ann Imig, it would have been enough. Dayenu.
Instead, the power of social media allowed a national ensemble of 60 producer/directors (as well as 300-plus readers) from 24 cities to become one big LTYM family who shared everything from tech support to wardrobe suggestions. It’s amazing how we were able to connect in a deep, personal way via our laptops.
- If we attracted local media attention, it would have been enough. Dayenu.
- If we put together a single performance and sold enough tickets so that we would at least break even, after donating at least 10 percent of proceeds to our cause, it would have been enough. Dayenu.
Instead, we were the only city to present TWO shows, and we packed the house, TWICE. We raised more than $2,000 for our local cause, Connections To Success, which offers hope, resources, and a plan to help break the cycle of poverty in St. Louis.
- If we were able to secure a sponsor who believed in us, it would have been enough. Dayenu.
Instead, we had more than a dozen generous sponsors, including our presenting sponsor St. Luke’s Institute for Health Education, which went above and beyond to make our event a success, and has already agreed to sign on next year!
- If we invited the community to see a live stage performance that had never been done in St. Louis, it would have been enough. Dayenu.
Instead, we offered our guests goody bags (thanks to our wonderful volunteers who helped stuff hundreds of them the night before), plus we treated the audience to a preshow concert with legendary jazz pianist Mo Egeston, delicious snacks, and spectacular attendance prizes from our sponsors.
- If we chose a variety of writers who didn’t have stage fright and read their essays into a microphone in front of the red velvet curtain, without putting their family and friends to sleep, it would have been enough. Dayenu.
Instead, our incredible cast of 17 took everyone on an emotional journey with their powerfully crafted essays that ranged from Jen’s heartbreaking story about how her alcoholic mother abandoned her, to Laura’s hysterical piece on the birds and the bees that literally had the audience roaring with laughter.
- If we helped make Mother’s Day weekend special, it would have been enough. Dayenu.
Instead, we touched many lives and really made a difference. Both men and women, of all generations, came up to us in the lobby afterwards and shared their “me too” moments, including a grandfather who never understood what his wife went through when she had a miscarriage until he heard Suzanne’s personal story about grief after her multiple pregnancy losses. The buzz is still in the air, even a month after the show.
- If we choreographed a curtain call, it would have been enough. Dayenu.
Instead, we lined up on stage, twice, soaking in the moment, clutching each other’s hands and a long-stemmed red rose, while the audience gave us a standing ovation, not once, but twice.
- If our cast got along without diva drama, it would have been enough. Dayenu.
Instead, LTYM brought together a diverse mix of moms with unique stories, and we created a strong bond that we hope to continue for a very long time. We had a blast while we shopped for shoes, drank mimosas, joined in a prayer circle, and relived it all over again at our poolside cast party.
- If we could cherish these memories in our heart, it would be enough. Dayenu.
Instead, performances in all 24 cities have been professionally videotaped and will appear on YouTube this summer, so we can laugh and cry all over again anytime we want.
Go HERE to see more photos from our show, including all of our cast and a salute to our sponsors. Also, stay tuned for upcoming announcements about the YouTube videos and auditions for the 2014 show!
Finally, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who supported our debut LTYM St. Louis. I’m forever grateful for those who submitted stories, auditioned for the show, bought a ticket, supported us, and basically listened to me talk your ear off for the past eight months.