Listen To Your Mother–13 Sisters and the Gift of Being Heard

I grew up with two brothers, so I have no experience with sisters. I don’t know what it’s like to share secrets, fight over closet space, do each other’s nails, play on the same team, gang up on a sibling. My roommate in college didn’t have a sister either, and, like me, had never shared a room, so we were two solo girls navigating some unchartered waters.

For the past month, however, I’ve had 13 amazing, wonderful, beautiful sisters: the women of Listen To Your Mother’s 2015 Austin cast. It’s been a time full of jokes, laughter, sharing, revealing, supporting, recognizing, praising, validating, and listening.

Most importantly, listening.

women listening in an auditorium
Though dress rehearsal at The University of Texas’s AT&T Center was our second time listening, each piece remained powerful.

I don’t think I’ve ever been part of a group that was made up of such good listeners. To truly listen, you have to recognize the worth of words. You have to be able to feel the depth involved in coaxing that piece out of the soul, crafting it, pruning it, and letting it bloom. You have to be able to share tears, not because the subject is sad, but because you know the emotion involved in choosing the tender words. You have to quake with wonder at what has been laid bare before you…and understand the risk in sending yourself out into the unknown. You set yourself aside for a time, and let the words soak in.

When you’re part of a group that really listens, magic happens.

Because we’re all writers, we’ve opened up through group posts and emails; because we’re all readers, we’ve stalked each other’s blogs and articles. By the time we met for our second rehearsal, there was easy cameraderie. Lots of laughing. Many hugs. Some good-natured teasing. Advice given on outfits, reassurances shared on worries.

Two women hug while listening to friends
Co-Producer Kristen Shaw (background, facing camera) has been like a den mother to this rowdy bunch: “Remember-it’s YOUR YouTube video that lives on forever.”

I’ve been, by far, the quietest. The experience has been a sensory overload, an enveloping wash of “is this really happening?” giddiness mixed with wonder that, yes, I’m running with this pack. I’ve felt like the big-eyed kid in the back of the room, soaking up the energy and experience spreading out like so much moonbeams and pixie dust.

Listen To Your Mother Cast member Crystal Valentine puts a necklace on Leah Fisher Nyfeler
Each cast member received a special Listen To Your Mother commemorative necklace.

We’ve been brought together by sharing words about motherhood–and what a varied lot of words they are. Perhaps it’s my age, but I found something to personally relate to in every reading. And by sharing–and listening–we’ve become sisters, bonded by our voices.

Am I nervous about tomorrow? Yes. Like everyone else, I’m agonizing over my outfit as well as possibilities for humiliation: tripping, lack of audience connection, wardrobe malfunctions, and verbal flubs. But setting nerves aside, there’s joy and delight in being part of this company, and I just don’t want these feelings to end.

I gotta hang on to these sisters.

The 2015 Austin Cast of Listen to Your Mother at dress rehearsal (not pictured, Lane Beckman and Elizabeth Jayne Liu) Photo Credit: Casey Chapman Ross Photography.
The 2015 Austin Cast of Listen to Your Mother at dress rehearsal (not pictured, Lane Beckman and Elizabeth Jayne Liu)

What is Listen To Your Mother?

From the LTYM website: This live production takes the audience on a well-crafted journey that celebrates and validates mothering through giving voice to motherhood–in all of its complexity, diversity, and humor–in the form of original readings performed live on-stage by their authors. You can still get tickets for Austin’s show on Sat., April 25!

Two women in Listen To Your Mother T-shirts at podium laughing
Austin LTYM Co-Producers Kristen Shaw (left) and Leigh Ann Torres guide the cast through dress rehearsal…and everything else.

LTYM aims to support motherhood creatively through artistic expression, and also financially–through contributions to nonprofit organizations supporting families in need. Each LTYM show donates a minimum of 10 percent of ticket proceeds to a local cause, as well as providing the cause awareness/fund-raising opportunities.

Live shows are recorded and will be broadcast on the LTYMShow YouTube channel this summer. You can also view over 1,000 past recordings.

Special thanks to Casey Chapman Ross Photography for use of these photos.

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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

0 thoughts on “Listen To Your Mother–13 Sisters and the Gift of Being Heard

  1. Good luck Leah! So sorry to miss – I\’ll be bringing Henry to a basketball tournament while Richard is at another one with our other son. Let\’s hope Henry listens very carefully to me all weekend 😉

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