People are asking me how it was, how I did, how it felt at Listen to Your Mother on Sunday. And I am processing, processing. It was such a big life experience—so unusual from my every day—that I believe I will be working through all of these feelings, these enormous tsunamis of feelings that keep washing over me.

My prayer the day before went something like this:

Lord,

Be with me tomorrow around 3 PM. Calm my nerves (you know, still waters and all of that).

I have about 5 minutes out there. I will walk out, I will read, and I will walk back off the stage, and around 300 seconds will pass when those things happen. For those 5 minutes, I want to live. I want to live deep, and suck the marrow out of every single second.

If you can, lift me up. As in, physically. I really don’t want to fall. If you want me to fall, make it be another day, when I’m not in front of hundreds of people, under a spotlight, in a dress. Maybe in the school pickup line, or even during Communion. Falling tomorrow would just be cliche and expected. Come on, God, just be creative. You’re good at that.

And thank you. Thank you for this experience, and that I get to do this. Thank you for the people I will bow with at the end of the show, and how magically you are weaving our stories and our lives together. Thank you for my people, who are showing up for me so majorly here and making me feel so incredibly loved. Seriously, God. Thank you for the ones who will be there in spirit. And thank you for the ones who will actually be there: Thank you for my family members from all sides, from my husband, grandpa, aunt, uncle, siblings, and parents to a contingent from our best family friends growing up to my grandma and grandpa’s besties to my sister-in-law’s parents—thank you for this family. And for my friends—from my BFF since 5th grade to my newest BFF, who both are bringing their moms. And the 18 (wha wha what?) people from my new town. I say 18 friends, and when I say it my head is back, and I’m laughing like a maniac, and I look like I should be committed, but I can’t help myself—it’s such an embarrassment of riches. I was lonely for girlfriends when I moved here, God—you know that. We went through that together. And now look at my cup overflowing.

And, just one last reminder—the falling, God. Just not tomorrow.

In sum, God, help me, and thank you.

Amen.

And then, He did.

I do not remember the walk to the podium, aside from the Producer’s reassuring smile and hand squeeze as I passed. When I got to the podium, I knew I just had to say my first four words and the rest would have to follow. So I started, and then looked up.

Because of the spotlight, I could see the pages on the podium, but everything beyond the stage was a thick, inky black. It felt like a dream, where you cannot see a whole section of your vision that is right before you. I’d look down and my pages were present, with the words I was reading. Then I’d look up, and send my words into the unseen abyss. And so on, and occasionally during the first page I’d think—this is not a practice. This is not a drill. This is it, the actual read through! People are out there, and some of them are mine! It is so so black out there. And occasionally the abyss would laugh.

By the second and third pages, I noticed something unexpected—something I didn’t understand as I got rolling. This deep black space was not scary at all—it was buzzing with energy and love. I heard my words as they sounded through the mic, as they echoed around the room and back. I became fully present—fully aware. And I did what I meant to do from the moment I decided to submit this piece to the show—I enjoyed the experience. I enjoyed the audience, and laughing with them about kids, and motherhood, and life. I enjoyed that my piece was one work in a symphony that together told the story of a mother’s love.

I left the stage, and I walked back, and I hugged the others who had gone already and who still had to go. I watched the rest of the show through the curtains. (By the end of the show, the black inky abyss was collectively sighing big “Awwwww”s like in the movies. I believe this is what we call “a good crowd.”) And then we took our final bows.

After the show, we were able to go to the lobby, and do the part of the show that was one of my favorites—swim through the sea of loving faces. At 2:30 am, later that night, I’d wake up and I would relive every second of this part of the show—who I got to see and briefly hug, and where, and in what order. I did not get even close to enough time with any of these people, because everywhere I’d turn, the faces, the faces, all the lovely faces.

When I originally found out that I made the show months ago and told my mom, she said, “You’re going to win!” And I told her it was not a contest. And since moms will be moms, she still somehow kept insisting I’d be the winner. It turns out, I should have listened to my mother! When I look at the show and how it turned out, and our good crowd, and all the new, beautiful writer friends that I made who were in the show with me, and all the love that I felt that day during and after the show, I felt like I’d won. We all had.

The very last piece in the show ended with one of my favorite lines: “We had fun, didn’t we?” And the answer is yes. Yes, we did.

I’ll post a video as soon as it’s available sometime this summer!