Hamilton & Motherhood
How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence impoverished, in squalor… grow up to be a blog post re: motherhood?
Almost two years late to the Hamilton party, I finally made it, guys. I cannot. stop. listening. You either 100% understand or you simply haven’t been exposed, right? If I’ve already lost you, here are the most basic basics. Hamilton is an American Broadway musical written, composed, and starred in the original cast by Lin-Manuel Miranda (pictured above), and the entire universe has been freaking out about it. Its about [SPOILER]: Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and his life. You’ll never get tickets at this point (unless you’re Trevor…we all know a Trevor who managed to get in, right? We get it, Trevor. WE KNOW), so you’ll have to listen to the cast album, which is available on an internet near you.
Besides the fact that Hamilton led to a major self-discovery that I do, in fact, care about American History after years of believing otherwise, my other big takeaway can be summed up in one very vague statement: That thing from back then is just this thing from now.
You historians and university professors know what I’m referring to. The duel. Alexander and Aaron never could get on the same page. Lots of political (and personal) discord. But a duel? Like, couldn’t they have just…not dueled? Not shot at each other? Wouldn’t that have been easier than waking up super early to kill/be killed? In many ways, THAT dueling culture is just THIS trolling/abusive online culture. It has been normalized to not feel so extreme. Just like dueling was! It was a normalized solution to deal with conflict. Thank you, Lin, for teaching me that these people aren’t just statued men and women from heavy, boring books. They’re us, just with different norms, laws, and circumstances. It feels important to eliminate for myself some distance between generations right now. We need more of that. I need more of that.
So could the same be said for some of the judgements we are all guilty of passing in the realm of parenthood? That thing for them is just this thing for us? I think this sentiment embodies the very recipe for empathy, but God, sometimes we need a new spin on an old idea. Sometimes a musical you’ve never seen can spark that.
When I witness another parent’s missed opportunity for disciplining their child and my reflexive thought is, “Oh wow, I would’ve handled that so much better”, maybe I can direct those thoughts to one of the many times when I miss opportunities to give Isla any form of green vegetable because I know she will devour mac and cheese and sometimes my child eating food, any food, is good enough for me. Maybe I can tap into that feeling of being human. Not because I want to tear myself down, but to remember how inherently fragile we are and that how we handle certain situations that don’t put our children in harm shouldn’t define how good or bad we are as parents.
That thing for them is just this thing for me. I shouldn’t have to defend the mac and cheese. She shouldn’t have to defend picking her battles.
I’m about to expose what a jerk I can be. A few weeks ago I rolled my eyes because someone I DON’T EVEN KNOW IN REAL LIFE but follow on social media was at Urgent Care for the 3rd time in 2 weeks and chose to document it, and for some reason I feel skeptical she just wanted attention (I guess I justified that because she has trillions of followers?). Yikes. Super jerk. Who thinks that? Maybe next time, I consider what something is I share on social media that may unintentionally come across as skewed. Like screen time. Often Isla’s screen time and my screen time coincide. But the thought of someone thinking that just because the TV is on in most of my Instagram stories means we let her watch too much TV makes me incredibly insecure. And defensive. Duh. So how about we chill out with monitoring other people’s choices.
Because that thing for them is just this thing for me.
The space between “us” and “them”, whomever we put in those two boxes at any given time, must begin to disappear in order for us to be compassionate, kind, and inherently better people. Whether you are content with what society looks like right now, or not, we all want to be better, right? We want our kids to be the good guys, all of us do. And they will be.
If we lay a strong enough foundation
We’ll pass it on to you, we’ll give the world to you
And you’ll blow us all away
*Feature image photo credit: Rolling Stone