Each year for the Listen To Your Mother Twin Cities show, I make a montage of candid photographs from the cast, emcee, and producers that plays while the audience is being seated. It's a personal touch for each show and a glimpse into the lives and families of those connected to the show.
Last night as the video finished rendering, my daughter asked to watch it with me. She sat on my lap and watched the images on the screen and asked each time, "What is her story?" I explained each one in simple terms, knowing that she'll be in the audience tonight to hear them all herself.
As we snuggled in bed later, she said that she was disappointed that I would not be reading from the stage but said that my story was pretty amazing too. "What story is that?" I asked. She responded, "You left a job that made you unhappy and look what you've done. You write and you produce a sold out show that lets other people tell their stories too."
That's not the story I often tell but it is mine too. Our conversation reminded me of just how many stories we have, how complex our lives are, and how few opportunities we have to share with others. I will always believe that storytelling matters, that glimpses of lives different than ours - whether they come through images or stories - have the potential to change us by opening the world to us and fostering compassion. We are so much better when we listen to each other.
Tonight, I have the privilege of sitting in a packed house at the Riverview Theater and listening to 13 women tell their stories, knowing that I played a tiny role in those stories being shared with a bigger audience.
Tonight. Tomorrow. Always. I'm listening.
A little bonus - a glimpse into my life 10 years ago (and some musical inspiration for tonight's montage.) At the end of the video, I say to my partner behind the camera, "You really don't need to be taping all of this." But I'm so glad she did. That little boy in my arms is finishing his sophomore year in high school and that little toddler on the right playing with the diaper wipes is now 12 and the one who gave me so much to think about last night.