I mentioned a while ago that I was invited to be a part of a very special, very emotional, indescribably amazing event — the inaugural Providence performance of the national reading series “Listen To Your Mother.”  I told you how honored I was and how scary it was.  Some of you asked to hear more about it, when I had more to tell.

So many of you who read this blog faithfully are parents yourselves, or hope to be someday.  And I’m a parent, too — that’s the major reason I started this blog.  It’s why I do what I do.  See, waaaaay back in ancient times, when man was just discovering fire and J. and I were dewy-eyed newlyweds, I started cooking for us every night.  I did it because my mother had done it, and my grandmothers had done it, and I’d known friends whose parents DIDN’T do it and I knew that houses like those seemed strange and foreign to me, no matter how welcoming the people in them.  I didn’t have a clear idea, then, why it was important to institute a family dinner practice and hold to it tightly; I just knew, vaguely, that it WAS important.  And so I did it, and kept on doing it, and have kept on keeping on as the years have passed and our family has grown and become, well, our family.

But the thing is, it’s HARD to keep on keeping on sometimes, when that family materializes.  Family dinner becomes more complicated as you add people and elements to it.  So you need a good motivation, I think, to keep you going.  You have to not just go on starry-eyed faith, as I did at the beginning; you have to clearly define for yourself what is going to keep you moving, or you’ll stop dead in your tracks.

It’s not often that I articulate to you all EXACTLY what my motivation is.  But it’s here, in my Listen To Your Mother piece; it’s here on the blog, in bits and pieces.  It’s in my heart and it’s all about the way that parenting has changed me and changed my view on almost everything in this bad old, good old world of ours.  What keeps me going, and keeps me fighting to hold onto a family dinner routine that means something to me, is the knowing that I’m really fighting to hold onto something that is good and precious and right for my boys.  For all of us, in fact.  And in the grand scheme of obstacles we’ve faced — and overcome — in this parenting game, J. and I both feel that making the space for family dinner is a small sacrifice, for sure.

So tonight, I want to share with you all the video — released today! — of me performing my reading, “Normal,” on the LTYM stage.  This is a glimpse into my motivation and a piece of my heart.  And if you’ve got some extra time, I also invite you and encourage you to watch some of the other amazing performances from the Providence show; I can all but guarantee that even if my reading doesn’t strike a chord in you, one of my LTYM sisters’ will.