Mom: Have you been writing those letters to yourself? “Dear Evan Hansen, this is going to be a good day and here’s why…”
Evan: I started one.
Mom: Those letters are important honey. They’re going to help you build your confidence
Evan: I guess
Mom: Can we try to have an optimistic outlook? Huh? Can we buck just enough to see the world won’t fall apart? Maybe this year we decide we’re not giving up before we’ve tried. This year, we’ll make a new start. I know you can go around today and ask the other kids to sign your cast. How about that?
Evan: Perfect (sarcasm implied)
Mom: I’m proud of you already.
Mom (by herself): Another stellar conversation for the scrapbook. Another stumble as I’m reaching for the right thing to say. I’m kind of coming up empty, can’t find my way to you…Does anybody have map, anybody maybe happen to know how the hell to do this? I don’t know if you can tell but this is me just pretending to know. So where’s the map? I need a clue ‘cuz the scary truth is I’m flying blind and I’m making this up as I go.
Mom: It’s your senior year, Conner. You are not missing the first day.
Conner: I already said I’d go tomorrow.
Dad: He doesn’t listen. Look at him. He’s probably high.
Sister: He’s definitely high.
Mom: I don’t want you going to school high, Conner
Conner: Perfect, so then I won’t go. Thanks, Mom!
Mom: Another masterful attempt ends with disaster.
Dad: Interstate is already jammed.
Mom: Pour another cup of coffee and watch it all crash and burn.
Sister: Conner finished the milk
Mom: It’s a puzzle, it’s a maze. I try to steer through it a million ways, but each day’s another wrong turn.
Dad: I’d better head out.
Sister: If Conner’s not ready I’m leaving without him.
Both Moms: Does anybody have a map, anybody maybe happen to know how the hell to do this? I don’t know if you can tell, but this is me just pretending to know. So where’s the map? I need a clue ‘cuz the scary truth is I’m flying blind, I’m flying blind, I’m flying blind, and I’m making this up as I go…as I go
Dear God, I actually prayed to you about this song earlier, but it was all lost in a saving error, and I just couldn’t bare to lose it so I thought I just look at this song one more time. Maybe it will be better a second time–kind of like watching a movie a second time and catching things you missed the first time.
The first thing is that this song is obviously all about the two moms. Both living in different worlds, and both desperate to break through the walls all around them, especially with their boys.
The musical actually opens up before this song with Evan talking to his friend on the computer. His mom walks in the room and he slams the laptop lid shut. It exhibits instant distrust. The Evan doesn’t trust him mom to be part of that world, and his mom must wonder what Evan is hiding. As a parent, those walls can be so difficult. You move from a time of being part of your child’s world and being trusted to being excluded. And while the children are kind of ready for that break, in a way they aren’t. Oh, the teen years just seem like such a cruel process for both the children and the parents. As a dad who went through it with two children, I can say that I knew it would be hard, but I still underestimated. When I saw the musical, it was painful to watch a lot of this from the parents’ perspective.
In the Evan’s mom’s little speech about bucking up and having a positive attitude, you can almost feel how she wishes she could do this for him. It’s almost like she’s saying, “Honey, I’ve been in this hole before and I know the way out.”
Shift to Conner’s family. Instant battling, and I can’t help but notice that the dad already seems to have surrendered. While the mom is trying to pull the fat out of the fire the father’s words are:
He doesn’t listen. Look at him. He’s probably high.
Interstate is already jammed.
I’d better head out.
You can tell he’s already charged hell with his water pistol too many times and he’s done. This battle is his wife’s to fight if she still wants to.
The sister is done with Conner too.
He’s definitely high.
Conner finished the milk.
If Conner’s not ready I’m leaving without him.
One of the setups is that Conner doesn’t have any friends. I find this puzzling on the part of the writers. It seems like kids like Conner would always have plenty of like-minded people to see at school and get high with outside of school.
But back to the moms. After all, it is there song. The feel so alone. Even Conner’s mom is alone in her quest to help her son. They are looking for ways into their sons’ lives.
One thing I used to wonder when my children were that age was, “What does it look like to turn your children over to God?” They were still children. They were under my roof. I had a responsibility. Sure, now that they are grown I can turn them over to you and be in the background to support them, but while they were still in school I could never find that place of peace with them. I never found a good answer to my question, and I still don’t know.
Father, I pray for my adult children. I pray for my wife as we try to find our way in still being their parents now that they are adults. I pray for my sisters and brothers-in-law as they raise their children. I pray for my nieces and nephews. It’s so hard. Show my wife and me how to be there for all of them as well. Whatever I can do in any life around me, including the sixth-grade boy I am mentoring, please let me know what you would have me do. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear. And for every time I have grieved you as you have tried to be my father, I am truly sorry.
In Jesus’s name I pray,