In Mother Words: Bring your Viva
Driving home from the grocery store this morning my local NPR station reminded me that In Mother Words, now playing at The Geffen, finishes its run on March 27. I made a mental note to call my daughter Jane and find out what night was free for her and her good friend, Jen…my early Mother’s Day gift to both of them.
I had gone on a rain-threatening Saturday afternoon as the guest of a fellow blogger (yeah I know, I haven’t blogged in a while) and in truth, I was more looking forward to lunch with Marsha than the play. Matinée performances are easy, though, and driving across L.A. on a cold(ish), cloudy(ish) and occasionally wet Saturday afternoon in February is no big challenge. Topanga Canyon to PCH to the 10 to the 405 and exit on Santa Monica. Easy. The fact that I’d walked out the door without cash, coat or umbrella didn’t cross my mind until a torrential but thankfully brief shower made me question my lack of preparedness as were having lunch at the always-good Sunnin on Westwood.
When we arrived at the theatre the first thing I noticed, besides the location of the cash only bar, was that the crowd was decidedly younger and there was no ATM machine in sight. Marsha and I cobbled together enough change and crinkled bills from the bottoms of our purses to manage a glass of red before the performance and then in we went. My first impression was right: we were in the small theatre and it was mostly filled with young moms all tangled up in that hormonal web of mothering that is somehow magnified when shared with others in the same boat. Most were thrilled to be out of the house on a Saturday afternoon and most of these moms knew at least a few other gals so there was much squealing and excitement…and you know, it was kind of contagious. We were all looking forward to this play.
Some of us are many years distanced from the thrill of pregnancy and the off-times monotony of hands-on mothering, but in Chapter One of In Mother Words birth, infancy, first steps and playground tedium burn with an intensity to make one’s own memories come swirling with a clarity that is equal parts joyful nostalgia coupled with a vivid recall of the clock-dragging drudgery of many days of those first years.
But never once did I look at my watch and never once did I feel that these stories rang false. And through sniffs, noisy nose-blowing and some out-loud sobby intakes of breath (our row), the 20 monologues marched along at a clip that was perfect. I’m not so sure the non-mothering crowd would enjoy it as much as we did, but I know that I’ve recommended it to every mother I’ve come in contact with over the last couple of weeks and if that isn’t a recommendation, what is.
And here’s what else I know:
Just because your kids are grown up (and your daughter is a mother) doesn’t mean that your love, fears, or dreams for them are diminished in any way.
Being a grandmother is even more thrilling than being a mother because it’s unaccompanied by the day-in, day-out little stuff that can wear a mom down.
Soft, Viva paper towels work better than tissues any day of the week and I was happy to share mine at the theatre.
And here’s what I hope:
While I know that motherhood is full-circle, please oh please let me stay compos mentis until I leave this earth.