Listen To Your Mother

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Our friend Angie Mizell lead the artistic production of Listen To Your Mother Charleston Chapter. When I first heard the buzz about this show I was intrigued. What exactly was this about? I thought to myself, “This might be applicable in my life… I listen to my mother…I’m a mother”. I decided to bring my sister Sarah. She is an amazing mother of four beautiful children. I thought, she’s a mom and this is about moms, right?!  I was pretty excited about going to this event even though I have to admit I hadn’t done a lot of homework on it. Another dear friend, Becca, was in it so between her and Angie I felt a connection with it and was looking forward to showing my support.

Little did I know how big a gift I was going to receive from this experience! This show consisted of a lineup of some very brave and intelligent woman who were willing to share themselves with an audience of strangers. In doing so they lifted up the blessed name Mother while displaying  the vulnerability and strength found in the heart of human nature! Becca blew me away with her live reading in Listen To Your Mother. She stated she was childless but described many situation in which she has been an  irreplaceable mother to so many people in her lifetime. She has given me plenty of sage advice many, many times! She has hugged me and let me cry on her shoulder. She has listened to me when I needed to be heard. The term mother covers A LOT of ground! What is a mother? The noun is defined as a woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth. However the verb is what is noteworthy!

 To mother is to bring up with care and affection.  

Wow… let that sink in. How many people in your life have brought you up? How many times has a friend or loved one or even a stranger lifted you up and shown you they cared? I know a lot of mothers of all shapes and sizes! They are young and old. They have homes full of children and no kids at all! They are female and male. They give unselfishly of themselves! Of all these mothers the greatest mother in my life is Bette Lynn Barrineau Atkinson. My mother brought me up with care and affection. She taught me to love myself and explore who I am. She continues to love me through all my “seasons”! So who is my mom… this is tough to type without crying. She is so much more than my mom!

She is a beautiful and talented woman who put a lot of her “seasons” on hold to help me through mine.

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One of the few pictures someone managed to snap of her!

 There aren’t many pictures of my mother. So here is a snapshot of how I see her.

She is an escape artist. My mom is always dodging pictures or holding something in front of her face.

My mother is the best pal, chum, playmate! She rides horses, plays sports, plants gardens, dances and laughs a lot!

She is a musician! She fills her home with lovely music. She plays the piano. She plays hymns. She plays classical music. She plays for church. She plays for her children. She truly makes a joyful noise unto the Lord!

She is a humanitarian. She gives and she feeds. You can’t leave my mom’s house empty EVER! You might walk out with a box of coffee or an extra bag of dinner rolls and you will never leave with an empty stomach.

She is a magistrate. She does what is right. She has never had a ticket in her life (unlike yours truly)! Sometimes I say things and she responds, “but Suzanna, that’s not right”… And she’s right.

She is a songstress. She has a beautiful alto voice and she sways in rhythm to her tune.

She is a doctor and an herbalist. She always knows exactly what to do when something troubles you or your health.

She is a teacher and philosopher. Many a conversation with her has led to more questions and more exploration into what is true. Many a foundation were laid in my youth by my mom without me even knowing it!

So I have to say when walking into the theater, Listen To Your Mother meant literally hearing the voice of mothers. However walking out of that theater Listen To Your Mother means recognizing and truly distinguishing your mother/s! Who is that person behind the endearing title? Our lives are blessed with mothers. I think I owe a lot of people thanks. I think I owe Bette Lynn Barrineau Atkinson a lifetime achievement award.

Mother’s Day is coming up. I hope you take the time to recognize the mothers in your life!

Thanks for reading, thank you mom for  bringing me up with care and affection and a special thanks to the Listen To Your Mother crew! What a thought-provoking and inspiring production!

– The byrd

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