“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ~ Plato
Walk into my home at any moment throughout the day and there is a 98.7% chance there will be music playing somewhere in the house. Depending on the day, and on the listener, it could be anything from classical to hip-hop. My selections are probably the most eclectic. My wife prefers songs that she already knows but has branched out through the years. Our youngest likes anything with a beat and once the beat drops, watch him move. Our oldest prefers pop music but since we watched the musical, “Hamilton,” a couple of months ago he listens to at least a portion of the soundtrack each and every day. We now know all the words, sing lines of specific characters, and each of us has our favorite songs.
A while back I posed the question on an IG story asking what others favorite songs were from the show. It was pretty unanimous that “You’ll Be Back,” (King George’s first appearance) was a hit. At the time any song with Daveed Diggs (Lafayette & Jefferson) were my favorites, specifically “Guns & Ships” and the Cabinet Battles, and my favorite line from the entire show is still, “You are the worst, Burr,” from “The Story of Tonight (Reprise).” But the more we listen to the soundtrack the more I connect with “That Would Be Enough,” Eliza’s plea to Hamilton to let her be a part of his life and enjoy the life they are building together. And isn’t that what makes a great song, the connection that the listener has with the words, the story that is being told.
It may be a slow, less exciting part of the play but I connect with this song because each line brings out emotions and feelings that I have felt in my relationship with my wife over the past 14+ years. Each line reminds me of a time where we struggled, where we had doubts, where we were there for one another. Each line is our relationship, our life together. So, as we just celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary this past weekend, I’d like to explain this connection.
We’ll start here,
Hamilton: Will you relish being a poor man’s wife, unable to provide for your life?
Eliza: I relish being your wife.
As you may know, I’m a stay at home dad. What you may not know is that I have struggled with that, and with the stigma that our society has placed on certain gender roles. Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to be here for my children, being a part of their every day, but too many times in the past three years I have seen the looks that others give when they ask what I do for a living. Our society still thinks it’s taboo for the man to “take care of the house” and the woman to “bring home the bacon.” MMMMM, bacon…sorry, back to my point. I’ve always been insecure about the fact that I am never going to be able to provide the finer things for my wife. Insecure that the world doesn’t see me as fitting the mold of “man of the house/provider.” But one thing my wife has never done is express any feeling that I’m not doing what is best for our family. Day in and day out she reminds me that the experiences that we have together as a family would not have been possible if I had been out chasing that dollar. And for that I am grateful.
Eliza: Look around, look around. Look at where you are, look at where you started. The fact that you’re alive is a miracle. Just stay alive, that would be enough. And if this child shares a fraction of your smile, or fragment of your mind, look out world, that would be enough. I don’t pretend to know the challenges you’re facing, the worlds you keep erasing and creating in your mind. But I’m not afraid, I know who I married. So long as you come home at the end of the day, that would be enough.
I’ve only shared with a few people the struggles that I have faced with depression, mainly because I have always thought, “What do I have to be depressed about? Everything has been given to me throughout my life.” But the fact of the matter is, I always felt like I was letting someone else down. With every decision I made in my life I felt like it was what everyone else thought I should do, or wanted me to do, so I never made a decision for myself, scared to let others down, be seen as a failure in their eyes. Then I met my wife and for the first time in my life I felt like there wasn’t anything expected of me other than to be there for her. The life that I imagined others thought I should live, the ideas that I built in my own mind were no longer an expectation. Then my boys came along and my life had true meaning, I found my purpose. The depression still comes and goes but because of my wife and my boys I have that need to carry on. I finally found my worth.
Eliza: We don’t need a legacy. We don’t need money. If I could grant you peace of mind, if you could let me inside your heart. Oh, let me be a part of the narrative in the story they will write someday, let this moment be the first chapter where you decide to stay. And I could be enough, and we could be enough, that would be enough.
In the beginning of our relationship things were rocky. I was trying to get over a break-up with the person who I thought I would marry, who I had been with since I was 16. Because of feelings I still had for my ex I didn’t fully let my wife in, she didn’t get my full heart. She gave me time and space, and even though it hurt, she let me figure things out on my own. She wanted to be a part of my life but wanted me to ultimately be happy, even if it was not with her. She never asked for anything more than to be a part of my story. That was the first chapter where I decided to stay. I decided to stay because of the trust, the forgiveness, the love she gave me even through the worst. We are never going to be financially rich. We are never going to keep up with the Joneses. But I hope that we will leave a legacy. I hope that others see the deep love we share for each other, for our boys, for our community. I hope we will be remembered. I hope we will do good, and we will be good.
That would be enough.