The secret is out and our friends at Lifetime have made their announcement that Jamie Lee Curtis will be starring in and directing the movie based on Free Mom Hugs Founder, Sara Cunningham’s Memoir How We Sleep at Night.
This is just incredible news for all of us in the Free Mom Hugs community. Sara’s story has always been the backbone of the mission and the common denominator for the moms who have joined in the movement either as volunteers or Chapter Leaders.
The feeling of being a mother, a woman of faith, with conservative ideals and/or family members creates a very common journey for these families when a child reveals their sexual orientation or gender identity. As Sara has said many times, from her own experience, when a child comes out of the closet, often, the parent(s) go into theirs. Rejection from friends and family is all too common. Church homes and families become distant strangers either through their subtle avoidance or complete rejection.
You Are Not Alone
We wanted to know how Sara felt when the announcement was made public. She told us”my hands were shaking so much I couldn’t text or call anyone with the news!” Her signature Good News phrase, “I’m hyperventilating” permeated all messages, posts and phone calls that came after she could use her hands again. And then the emotions hit. She said, the awareness of the bigger picture began to settle in, and she realized the”impact this has for moms like me to not feel alone.”
Sara knows that feeling all too well, and found out she wasn’t alone when she discovered the private online group Serendipitydodah which is home of the Mama Bears when Parker, her son, first came out to her when he was 21 years old. This group served as her support, her sounding board, her church, and her research as she traveled the journey to not only accept her son Parker as a gay man, but celebrate him. This camaraderie is also what helped her write her memoir, and chronicle the journey “from the church to the Pride parade.”
In thinking about Jamie Lee Curtis making this film, and who may have the opportunity to see it, Sara remarked, “What I wouldn’t have done to see this story back when I needed it.”
As you can see, Sara and Jamie Lee became fast friends upon meeting and their similarities both physically and emotionally, are boldly apparent. They both have an affinity for Jeeps, cereal for dinner, the spiritual world of synchronicity, and for empowering other women to use their voices for good. As Maya Angelou says, “When you know better, you do better.” These two women embody the life-saving force of doing better. And the re-telling of Sara’s story on the big screen will empower so many mothers, parents, friends and allies to do the same for our LGBTQIA+ children.
Changing the World
This film will be a powerful tool in the Free Mom Hugs mission, “We empower the world to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community through visibility, education and conversation” Just think of the visibility of seeing a mom like Sara and be able to witness her journey. Imagine the enlightenment of new information to old ideas, and the conversations to follow in the homes that will be seeing the film. We have dreamt about an opportunity like this, to give hope to the LGBTQIA+ children like Parker, to have the courage to have these conversations with their families and bring about understanding of each other’s stories.
Sara’s main goal in her advocacy and in forming Free Mom Hugs was to help parents and children have authentic relationships with each other. She has seen the power of this in her own family, and wants nothing more than to see it in yours. And with the help of Jamie Lee Curtis and Lifetime TV, the reach of this message just traveled farther and wider than we could have ever imagined.
From the very beginning when Jamie Lee sent Sara a friend request on Facebook, and during phone calls and even a surprise trip to Oklahoma City when Jamie Lee wanted to meet Sara, her family and community, her catch- phrase to all the questions was, “Stay Tuned!”. As we navigate this next phase of movie making, we will let you know when we know, and can’t wait for the Watch Parties to come! Until then, as they say in show business, Stay Tuned!