In November 2003, I was about eight months pregnant with Hannah, and Marc and I were beginning our annual Thanksgiving drive to Ohio. This time, it was imperative that we drive, because I was no longer cleared to fly on an airplane. But no matter, this drive is our tradition, and I was excited to do it, even if it meant having to stop more often than usual along the way so I could use the bathroom and stretch my legs.
But before we even left Brookline, we stopped at a CVS for some reinforcements. I had gone in the store by myself, and one of the things I'd brought to the cashier's counter was a bottle of Tums. And the conversation that took place then was one I'm still remembering 10 years later.
"That means the baby will have a lot of hair, you know," the cashier said, with a knowing smile.
"Oh!" I replied, fumbling, trying to pay and pick up all my belongings without dropping anything, because being an eight months pregnant woman trying to pick things up from the floor of a CVS was not what I wanted to be just then.
"Yes, that baby for sure has a lot of hair."
I stopped and looked at the cashier, a woman with mostly grey, short hair, probably in her early sixties. I wondered how many children she might have had, if she'd been speaking from experience that the babies that caused a lot of heartburn were indeed born with full heads of hair. But before that moment, I'd never have considered myself having much in common with the cashier at CVS. What I realized then, about six weeks before I became a mother myself, was that motherhood, and more broadly parenthood, is the most universal experience we can have as human beings.
Of course, the nuances are different, and the variety of experiences we can have as parents and as children is vast. But everyone has some story that helps define who we are as a person now, either with the mothers and mother-like figures who brought us into the world, to the mothers that we have become in our own right. Being a mother is an essential part of the story I am telling here, and I personally don't find anything more interesting than that.
So it is with tremendous excitement that I share the news with you today, that I am co-producer of Boston's first production of "Listen to Your Mother." What began as one show on Mother's Day in Madison, Wisconsin, with one of my blogging idols, Ann Imig, has become a national movement to "give motherhood a microphone." I'll be working with my friends Jessica Severson of Don't Mind the Mess and Phyllis Kim Myung of Napkin Hoarder, alumni of the Providence 2013 Listen to Your Mother show, to hopefully bring a wide variety of Boston's best voices on motherhood to the stage.
I've never done anything like this before, and yes, I know it's going to be a huge challenge. But it's a topic I couldn't be more passionate about, and so I know I'm up to it. If you're in Boston, I hope you'll consider auditioning, being a sponsor of the show, and most of all, buy tickets to come and see it. We'll be announcing more information on all of that in the coming months. (Not local to Boston? Chances are, there's a show near you - 32 cities this year!)
For now, I'll leave you with videos of Ann's vision, and Jessica and Phyllis's performances from last year's show, so you can get a glimpse of what's to come.
Oh, and by the way, the baby did indeed have a lot of hair. But the Tums were for my husband.