So, back in January Mari mentioned something about submitting a story for the 2015 Listen to Your Mother show. She was a cast member in 2013. While she was going through that process and after attending her show, I thought this is something I might want to try out for. My only real reservation was that I wasn't a professional writer and what sort of story would I have that would even be considered for this great show about motherhood?I'm so excited for him. I know how participating in LTYM can change your life, making it bigger in some ways. I'm humbled that he's talking about me, but though I'm told his story will be changed slightly before the show, it's a story that will resonate with other mothers—especially military wives.
I thought for a few days, and then it hit me—why not write about Mari? So without her knowing, I contacted one of the producers and asked if men could submit their story for consideration and I pitched my idea. She said yes and was very encouraging.
So, for a week straight I offered to take the kids to Tae Kwon Do after school and told Mari "she deserved a break" (she actually did). While sitting in the gym and as my kids tried to punch and kick each other into submission, I pounded out my story.
I didn't know how it was going to turn out or how to get started, so I just started writing from the heart and the experiences we have been through.
I asked a few close friends to read it and swore them to secrecy that they wouldn't say anything to Mari. I submitted my story and I was selected to audition. Hell, I thought, well this is a win no matter what. Who knew I could actually write something other than security or technically manuals and it mean something?
Well I was sent an e-mail to select my audition time and I selected the one right after Mari. I & all of the other people who knew never said a word. Well as the day to audition grew closer, I could tell she was getting excited and nervous. We started to plan out our weekend as busy family do, and Mari mentioned taking our daughter with her to the audition so our son and I could run some errands that needed to be done. I suggested why don't I drive her to the audition, wait for her and then we could do a date morning and have a late breakfast instead?
The morning of the audition, Mari was nervous and excited at the same time. She said she wasn't on top of her game and was worried her story wasn't strong enough. I told her she would be fine and to do her best, she was among friends. We got to the audition and I was worried someone was going to give away my surprise but no one did. I had carried in a day planner and told my I was going to do some work, I actually had my audition papers.
While we were waiting for her turn, I noticed she was nervous and suggested she go to the bathroom, take a few minutes to regroup and muster her courage. I waited for the bathroom door to close and I looked at the receptionist and we both smiled and I said, she has no idea and we both laughed. Mari came out, we heard some clapping coming from the other room and she was up next. I gave her a hug and kiss and told her to do her best, I loved her and was proud of her no matter what happened.
Mari did her audition and got an applause and came out to the receptionist area. She asked if I was ready to leave and I said Yeah, just give me 10 minutes because I'm up next. The look on her face was first of confusion then surprise and more confusion. She asked what I meant and I said I had submitted a story, was selected to audition and the story was about her. She came over gave me a hug and kiss and was speechless (yeah I know thats hard to believe with Mari). I walked into the audition room, said my hellos, read my story while reliving all of the emotions I felt during the times I wrote about.
I told the panel, even if I didn't make it, I was satisfied for making it this far and I was going to give my story to Mari for Mother's Day. I didn't get any applause when I walked out and I knew for sure I wasn't going to be selected. Mari asked how it went and I said not very good but at least I tried and I wanted her to know how much I loved & appreciated her after all these years together. We walked out to my truck, and I handed her the story.
As I drove, I could hear her cry at some parts, laugh at others. I asked what she thought and she said I was going to make it and my story was from the heart. I told her how I felt and would just have to wait and see. That evening our family was waiting to be seated for dinner and I received a phone call asking if I would like to be part of the show since I was selected and they loved my story. My first thought was "holy crap, now I have to read this in front of people and it's going to be taped and live in Internet history!" That thought quickly went away since I wanted to share with the world this story of my wife.
I am nervous about reading but hopefully it will get easier. I hope you are able to make the Oklahoma City Listen To Your Mother show on 26 April 2015 @ 2:30 at the Will Rogers Theater. I would love to share our story with you.
Get your tickets (a bargain at $20—$10 for students with ID) now and come support this wonderful cast of writers and readers and this years' cause, Reach Out and Read Oklahoma. The show is run by volunteers, so it can't happen without sponsors! Local sponsors this year include Sheradee Hurst Photography, Little Big Films, Hidden Dragon Yoga, Crossroads Family Dentistry and national sponsor BlogHer.