November 20th, Wisdom


I can’t believe I’m going to write about musical theatre. The truth comes out- I can not get enough of it. Oh my heart. Tonight I saw Once On This Island on Broadway. All day I was thinking about wisdom. Who has provided wisdom? What is wisdom? I couldn’t quite settle on something to write about. And then I saw the show. From the minute Tonton Julian and Mama Eurlie showed up (the parents of the ingenue Ti Moune) I found myself weeping throughout the show. I think up until this evening, I always listened as the 8th grader who had first heard the music 20+ years ago and devoured all things musical theatre. I only thought about the girl loving the boy. But watching it tonight, I watched it through a new lens- through the lens of being a mother. I heard the parent voices a bit louder, those parts pulled at my heart strings a bit more and in a new way. Ti Moune is an orphan- and when her parents find her in a tree after a big storm- they see her, they take her in, they love her. Easy peazy. I understand that love. They try to protect her, but eventually allow her to follow her own path. At this point in the evening my sobs became audible. When Ti Moune sings “I will always be a part of you” to her parents, I just about lost it. I GOT it. From a new perspective-from the perspective of a parent. I realized that motherhood has made me wise. I realized sitting in that dark theater that the wisdom of being a mother is mine to own. You see, for me that took a bit longer. Maybe it took until this evening to believe in the wisdom that comes with being a mother. Maybe it’s because I didn’t carry my child. Maybe it’s because I have had to answer a lot of unsolicited questions about who I am as mother, defending myself in the role- for whatever reason, it’s taken me a little longer to catch up to this whole “motherhood” thing, to really believe that others see me as mother. That I see myself as mother. There is a wisdom that only mothers know. Sitting in that dark theater- watching the show through this new lens I was struck that I must be wise to the ways of being a mother because I could relate to those parents in such a deep visceral way. And then sitting across from me (it was kinda sorta theatre in the round) I saw a young black girl clinging to her parents arms watching this story. Her parents were white. I watched them. I thought about what a relief it must be to love on their child in this dark theater where no one was glancing a little too long or asking a slightly too personal question. I realized that I have become wise to motherhood, wise to recognizing myself in other mothers like me and wise to when to say yes to a free ticket to a Broadway show. 😉