All good things

How we feel about Chicago in a nutshell, Sept 2017 Photo Credit: Rachel Friedman

How we feel about Chicago in a nutshell, Sept 2017 Photo Credit: Rachel Friedman

OK, first things first. After the overwhelming response to “All my children” I feel as if a short follow up is needed. Last week’s blog took a larger emotional toll on me than I had expected, and for reasons I couldn’t have predicted. When I first shared the truth about Elvis four years ago I received quite a few negative comments. They were hard to read but I knew when I spoke out that it was likely to happen. This time around I prepared myself to take a lesson from the Kardashians and never read the comments, but you know what? I didn’t receive a single negative comment, not even privately. What I did receive was over a dozen private messages from women sharing that they too had gone through something similar. Some had been shamed by friends and family, others said they vaguely told people that they “lost the baby” to avoid negative judgement. But no matter how they communicated their experience not a single woman regretted their decision and all felt passionately that this was not a decision anyone else could have made for them. I don’t know if sharing stories like mine has any chance of opening the hearts and minds of others but I have to hope that it at least leaves a crack.

Now, as if the last few weeks have not been emotional enough with Adelaide’s struggles leading to her hospitalization last week, and the attacks on abortion rights, we find out this week that they are announcing the closing of Hamilton in Chicago. To be fair, we did have advanced warning and apparently so did my son’s first grade class because children are always listening even when you think they are not and then decide to share family secrets with their entire class. Regardless, seeing the words in black and white still sucks. When we first moved to Chicago I was certain we would be here one year and then we would return to New York. I had no idea how this city and it’s people would capture our hearts. As the inevitable questions of “what’s next” start pouring in we are relieved to know that we have until next year to figure that out. We absolutely love Chicago and the Hamilton family has been amazing to us. Truthfully, the last three years, as emotionally challenging as they have been, have been a dream in every other way. Miguel has described it as being tied to a rocket with an open parachute on your back. But its a damn cute parachute! So, do we try and stay in Chicago and make our life here? Do we cross our fingers that Hamilton will offer Miguel the role in another city? There will be some very serious discussions in the Cervantes house these next few months to be sure.

Our car packed to the brim ready to leave New Jersey, Sept 2016

Our car packed to the brim ready to leave New Jersey, Sept 2016

Whatever the answers to these questions may be, Adelaide has prepared us for this moment from the very start of this journey. It was three years ago this week that Adelaide was diagnosed with epilepsy and Miguel was in the middle of auditions for Hamilton. Because both of these juggernauts entered our lives at the same time it has helped us maintain a grounded perspective. Hamilton is amazing and we are beyond grateful for everything it has afforded us but there is nothing more important than the happiness and well-being of our family. Perhaps that is why Miguel did so well at those auditions - because he knew it wasn’t the most important thing in the world. There was a little girl in the hospital receiving a lumbar puncture, at that very moment, that mattered so much more.

May 2019

May 2019

We’ve carried that sentiment through these last few years. As this Hamilton in Chicago chapter of our lives closes, there is still nothing more important than our family. Adelaide has taught us many things, but perhaps the most important is that there is so much in life that we cannot control and worrying about those things doesn’t help. I can’t control Adelaide’s health or when her next seizure will occur, but I can make sure we have the best medical team in place to help us make the best decisions for her care. Similarly, I can’t stress over what is going to happen to our family NEXT YEAR but we can put ourselves in the best financial and emotional position to open the next chapter as strongly as we did the last. That’s not to say there won’t be a sleepless night or two imagining what our lives will look like a year from now - I’m only human and a recovering type A at that. But as long as we have each other, we will figure everything else out. So, thank you, Adelaide, for providing life perspective that should have taken me many more years to earn.

You never know what twists and turns life will throw at you. Four years ago, I never could have imagined being a special needs mother, that Miguel would be starring in the most successful musical of our time or that I would find my true purpose advocating and raising awareness for special needs families and epilepsy. Yet, here we are. Eight months from now is an eternity, so much can, and will, happen between now and then. So, I plan on enjoying our time in Chicago, especially these next few months when the weather is actually enjoyable. As they say, all good things must come to an end. But whose to say that something even better isn’t waiting to begin?