mothering, NYC

on making a plea, not for help but connections 



I have a son. Some of you have met him. Some have known him since he was a baby. Others since I got sober, when he was 4 years old, almost 5. But you’ve seen him grow up nonetheless.

He’s been through a lot this year. He lost a horrible genetic lottery and, when puberty kicked in with full force, it brought with it crippling anxiety, depression, and self-harm. I was the one he confided in, and I promised not to say anything unless I thought he might seriously harm himself. Well, that day came. And I did. And he hated me for it. And we’ve been trying to repair our relationship ever since.

Being a 14-year-old boy dealing with mental health problems and struggling to love his mom again, a mom who (having read everything that exists how to deal with teenage boys) tries so hard to strike a balance between giving him space and showing affection, he doesn’t often show excitement or interest in anything. Or, at least not that he shares with me.

But lately that’s changed. He’s become obsessed with Hamilton. He used his allowance to buy the soundtrack. He’s memorized the actors and which parts they play (I send him GIFs all the time to illustrate our text convos). He’s agreed to listen to any album I want him to (even Bob Dylan!) as long as I listen to Hamilton.

And he’s decided that—despite an upbringing from a philosophy-teacher father who’s made him do logic workbooks every summer from the age of three, forgoing sports and playing outside and learning how to play catch (my brother and I taught him those things)—he might well want to be an actor (which was suggested to him 2-1/2 years ago when he came to NYC for spring Break and took a musical theater camp run by Broadway actors, and they took me aside and told me, “this kid needs training, NOW. He is too talented to walk away from this.”)

He takes improv, where he gets similar feedback. And I’ve suspected from a young age that he would be well served in an entertainment role. But that’s beside the point, except I know that if my parents had let me take that trip at 13 to NYC to see Broadway plays, I might have had a different life than I do today. Seeing that kind of show, at that age, if you are itching to see it, if you’re inclined in that direction.

IN ANY CASE he’s coming to see me from 1/1 to 1/8. And he’s asked me for only one thing for his Christmas present: Hamilton tickets. I’ve told him tickets are expensive (I sent him a screen shot) and that he should ask everyone giving him gifts to give him money to be earmarked for Hamilton tickets. I’ve asked my family (what little people that contains that would give him a present) to do the same.

I am not asking for money to get Hamilton tickets to take Basil to see the show. I know many of you want to see the show yourself and buy them if you had the money.

I am here because I know it is NYC and I know many of you have connections to the show. It only takes one person hearing this request or sharing it with a person to find a miracle. I don’t need free tickets. I just need them for less than $500 a ticket.

If you can help or have ideas (other than the lottery, which is just a lottery), please contact me. It would completely change my son’s life—in more than one way.


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