One thought has crossed nearly everyone’s mind after they’ve flung their football into a lamp by accident or polished off every last cookie in the jar before dinner: “I should have listened to my mother.”
Though mothers’ words are at times received with a chorus of frustrated sighs and eye rolls, one group of talented moms will have the chance to share their stories in front of a captive audience.
Listen to Your Mother Oklahoma City, a storytelling event in its final year, features 13 mothers and products of mothers sharing tales that range from hilarious to heartbreaking and everything in between. The event is 3 p.m. April 30 at Oklahoma City Zoological Park and Botanical Garden’s Education Center, 2101 NE 50th St. A percentage of proceeds benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County.
Listen to Your Mother is an international movement founded by blogger Ann Imig. Oklahoma City is one of the program’s 29 participating U.S. cities.
Event co-producer and 2017 performer Jennifer Dennis-Smith said Listen to Your Mother is coming to an end because the program’s national leaders feel like the event has run its course.
“They never intended this to go on forever,” she said. “This was a good time to kind of step away.”
First-time cast members join returning favorites in this year’s OKC event. The performance roster includes Dennis-Smith, Rose Marie B., Stephanie Clinton, Heather Davis, Rachel Forrest, Loralei Gann, Jammie Kern, Mandy Moore, Jan Morrill, Jennifer Poynter, Jenifer Silence, Dani Stone and Marie Wreath.
Performers are chosen through an auditioning process. Some are professional writers, and some have never attempted anything like this before. Performers aren’t required to be mothers themselves. Male storytellers have participated in the past. The only requirement is that one’s story is related to motherhood in some way.
There are many kinds of people in the world and thousands of ways people can divide themselves, but one of the few things every person has in common is that they have all had a mother. Dennis-Smith said as people share their stories, they can discover they might be more like others than they realize.
“These stories are so vastly different, but there’s that common thread,” she said.
Mari Farthing is Listen to Your Mother’s other co-producer. She is a past performer and former blogger who first heard about the national program through blogging friends. Farthing has been involved in Listen to Your Mother since it expanded into Oklahoma City in 2013.
One of the striking things about the event, she said, was how real every story is. Not all mothers are perfect, and there are sure to be more than a few tears shed as some stories are told. But Farthing said through the emotional rollercoaster, everyone involved leaves feeling closer together.
“I don’t have the same experience Jennifer has; I don’t have the same experience as most of the other people in the cast, but I can relate to some part of their story,” Farthing said. “That’s why I like it, and I think that’s one of the things that draws people into it is that you can relate to people you don’t think you have anything in common with.”
Listen to Your Mother Oklahoma City
3 p.m. April 30
Oklahoma City Zoological Park and Botanical Garden
2101 NE 50th St.
Print headline: Raising hope, Stories of motherhood bring Listen to Your Mother Oklahoma City to its completion.