In the beginning, there was Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Then came Elmo and Sesame Street. But none of these prepared me for the all-consuming obsession with Moana.
My son is only two, so we missed the Frozen craze, but I imagine this is similar to what it felt like to be a parent in 2014. Disney knows what they’re doing. As toddler shows and movies go, I’m aware we could do much worse. I’ll admit, my son may not be the only one in our house whose love for Moana borders on obsession.
It’s so easy to admire her, a strong-willed future chief who sets sail to save the world from an ancient curse. I love that my son’s first hero is unabashedly feminist. No love story necessary; no dashing prince who sweeps in to save any damsels in distress.
As a result of the Moana-induced fog that seems to have permanently settled over our house, I got to thinking that her story is an apt metaphor for parenthood. So bear with me and read how far I’ll go with this analogy. . .
For example, sometimes you have to disregard people’s expectations of you. Maybe you waited to have children, or maybe you had children earlier than your friends. Maybe the way you choose to parent and the decisions you make for your family are different from what others’ prescribe. Other people, sometimes even your own parents, may not understand, but you have the courage to do what you believe is right.
You think about your ancestors. There’s something about raising babies that make you reflect on where you come from. This is especially relevant if you have a sassy grandma whom you adore.
All mothers are essentially Te Fiti. We are beautiful, life-giving goddesses, but if you threaten our creation, you better expect to deal with Te Ka.
You don’t hear enough thanks for everything you do, so you find yourself frequently saying “you’re welcome” anyway, whether you’re a demigod who lassoed the sun or you just prepared a nutritious meal that’s on its way to the floor.
It takes a village. Your village will sometimes be flawed (we’re all human) and may include a seemingly useless chicken, but in the end, you know they have your back and you couldn’t succeed without them.
You find yourself singing and dancing a lot more than you used to. I can only wish I had Lin-Manuel Miranda to write the soundtrack for my life.
You often have no idea what you’re doing, but you set sail anyway. Your boat is bound to capsize a few times, but you’re growing and learning along the way. Sure, it would have been easier to just stay in your pre-parent life of Motunui, but the challenges of the journey help you become the best version of yourself.
Now, please excuse me while I go listen to “You’re Welcome” for the gazillionth time today . . . and THANK YOU!