After ruminating on last week’s post, I want to be sure this blog never teeters on sounding like a bitchfest. Yes, this special needs parenting life is hard, but also, we all have our baggage… some of us are just less able to tuck it away than others. That may be one reason I am so open about our life: I can’t pretend our challenges aren’t there so, clearly, the next logical step is to tell the world everything about them! Right? No? Even in my darkest self-pity fests I can’t help but be grateful for our amazing community, friends and family. But more than anything in this world, I am grateful for an incredible partner with whom I can share this life journey. For if we are placed on this Earth with a purpose, there is no doubt in my mind that Miguel’s purpose is to be a father and he exceeds at fulfilling it everyday. So, in celebration of Father’s Day, this seems like the perfect opportunity to dish on Miguel and why he really is as amazing as you think he is.
It doesn’t hurt that Miguel is quite possibly the most charming human I have ever met. I dare you to have one conversation with him and try not to like him - its just not possible! Even as he has become more successful, he has remained grounded. And. Just. So… normal. In fact his outlook on this mini-fame he has found has always struck me as so quintessentially Miguel: he realizes that someday no one is going to want to take their picture with him or want his autograph - so why not enjoy it now and make that person’s day. After all, it costs him nothing more than a couple minutes. And he brings that attitude into parenting, acknowledging that Jackson is not always going to want to cuddle or wrestle or play cars so he always makes time to play. Likewise, he never fails to swoop in and show Miss A love. The nurses at the hospital joke about how different Miguel’s energy is from mine. I cuddle with her and sing lullabies and Miguel comes into the room with a gale wind’s force of energy chatting with her, moving her body and limbs around and generally providing a much needed balance in her life.
Then he has to leave the hospital and go to work performing his heart out for 1,400 theater patrons each night. While I’ve spent my fair share of time resenting the fact that he gets to escape, I cannot actually imagine having to leave my partner and child in the hospital. Miguel has always been excellent at compartmentalizing but these last few years have forced him to take it to another level. It is entirely possible that if you have seen Miguel perform in Chicago that he came to the theater that day directly from the hospital: delivering me fresh clothes, sneaking in wine, meeting with doctors and loving on Miss A. On a couple of longer hospital stays he has even sent me home, staying the night in the hospital himself. This is all part of his normal which is already very NOT normal given the whole being Hamilton in Hamilton thing.
Did you know that he coaches Jackson’s little league baseball team? Not just coaches, he is the head coach. To anyone involved in the Broadway Softball League in NYC, (yes that is a real thing - and it is very serious), this does not come as a surprise. Also, prior to booking Hamilton he had a company in New Jersey teaching 3-6 year olds how to play baseball. Rainbow throws and alligator catches were the cornerstone of his small business that kept him busy in-between acting jobs. When he told me he wanted to be the head coach at the end of Jackson’s last baseball season I knew there was no stopping him. Even I am not quite sure where all of his energy comes from: how in the world does he go from baseball practice on Friday evenings into a show that night, then wake up and coach a game on Saturday morning and perform in two shows that day. He may crash Saturday night but Sunday he is up and ready for whatever events and activities I have planned for the day. He almost never complains about being tired although if we’re sitting down on a Sunday or Monday to Netflix and chill it has to be a pretty engaging show to keep his attention. Even during Game of Thrones I would catch little snores as he would startle awake.
Even though I manage the day-to-day scheduling and care for Adelaide, Miguel is still involved. Not a day goes by where we do not discuss our chronic frustrations or our shared goals for her quality of life. In his eyes, I see the mirror image of my desperation, and feel his pain as he covers his face in his hands when he hears news that she’s had an increase in seizures or PSH attacks. While I hate for anyone I love to feel this way, I take comfort in knowing that we are in this together. Even so, his strength and resilience amazes me. I used to think Miguel was able to be as strong as he is because he was able to take time away from the stress of our home and because he was able to have an identity outside of being Adelaide’s parent and caregiver. While that’s probably partly true, I have a funny feeling he would be just as strong should we ever have to change roles. It’s also highly likely that should that happen Adelaide would rarely wear pants and I would come home to syringes scattered all over our home the way I now find sharpies. But our children would be happy and pants are overrated anyway.
So, to Miguel on this Father’s Day: thank you, babe, for being an incredible father and partner on this unexpected roller coaster to which we find ourselves strapped. The ride will inevitably be bumpy ahead but together I think we will come out alright. We love you.