Eavesdropping

Lauren Weedman Tells a Tale of Moms and ‘Miss Fortune’

The actor and writer, whose new book was just released, tells us about the Paul Simon concert that saved her family life.

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Lauren Weedman turned heads with her scene-stealing role on HBO’s “Looking” — which earned her a Critic’s Choice nomination. She’s also turned her colorful life into nine one-woman shows and two books. The latest is “Miss Fortune: Fresh Perspectives on Having It All from Someone Who Is Not Okay.” She regales us with a tale from the book and a transcript is below.

DPD-BannerLauren Weedman: So, I’m adopted. And I didn’t meet my birth mother, Diane, until I was 19 years-old. The entire time that I’ve known here the last 20 years, she’s just been so perfect. Completely irreverent about the adoption thing. I mean, every time she leaves the room, she’s like, “I’ll be right back. This time I mean it!”

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The jokes are endless. You know, if I forget to call her back, I’m like, “Sorry I didn’t call you back. I’m a little unstable, I’m adopted.” And that has been our schtick over the years and it’s just, to me, I’m like, “That is that’s my blood, clearly.”

And then when I was pregnant and I needed someone to come out and help me after the baby was born, it turned out that my adoptive mother couldn’t do it, because she was ill, so Diane came out. And I thought, again, what a perfect fit to have her around helping me take care of Leo, the new baby. But when she got there, from the moment that she walked into the apartment and saw Leo for the first time, I was immediately mad at her. I’d really never gotten angry at her. She was always just always such a score.

But she walks in the room and the first thing she says, she was like, “Oh, good. He’s a good-looking baby! C-sections, way to go. Hey I’m Bubs!” And she decided that her grandma name was going to be “Bubs,” which was her favorite character from “The Wire.” And she like screams in his little baby face, “CALL ME BUBS!”

Normally I love that sense of humor, but for some reason, I was like, she didn’t… I don’t know. It’s like, there’s a baby here. Take a second. He’s new person to meet. I don’t know. It felt like it needed a little more… ugh, some weight to it when she first met him.

So fast-forward a couple years later, I’m visiting Diane in Indiana and all of her family; my half-brothers and sisters and stuff all live there. And we all went to go see a Paul Simon concert. And then the song “Mother and Child Reunion” comes on. And that’s a song I’ve heard a million times and at first I was like, “Oh, God, like of course everyone’s going to look down like, ‘Oh look, a mother and child who had a reunion are sitting next to each other. Blabbity blah.'” But the song comes on and the lyrics were much more profound as I’m sitting next to Diane. And Diane reaches over and grabs my hand and we both are crying during the song.

After the concert we were walking out and Diane turns to me and she goes, “You know what? I need to tell you something, Lauren. Giving you up was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. And it is the most painful thing that’s ever happened to me. But I never wanted you to worry about that. And I never wanted to think that your birth was anything but good. And I thought that by, you know, being sort of irreverent about it, or being jokey about it, that that would be helpful to you. But now I’m realizing maybe you needed to know that. Maybe you needed to know it was the hardest thing I’d ever done.”

I had no idea how much I needed to hear that.

We were in the car afterward driving back and we’re all talking about the concert and what our favorite song was and I’m like, you know, I’m like, “I have to say ‘Mother and Child Reunion’ is kind of going to the top of my list.” And my half-sister, Danza, is like, “Oh yeah, that’s based on Paul Simon’s favorite restaurant in Brooklyn that shut down.” And then my half-brother Justin’s like, “No it wasn’t! It’s about his dog who died.” I’m like “OK, thank you. Thank you. This is clearly my family.”

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