Gmorning from the younger version of you
Who couldn’t wait to be you at this age right now
Gnight from the older version of you
Who remembers the exact moment you are in right now
And is grinning from ear to ear, because
You have no idea about
The wonders ahead
Eyes up, hearts up, minds sharp
Compassion on full blast
Okay, let’s go
Eyes shut, hearts open
Minds calm, empathy on full blast
Okay, let’s go
--from “Gmorning, Gnight” by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Julie gave me this book for Christmas, a collection of the “Hamilton” creator’s tweets over the past several years. I must confess I shelved it at first, much weightier tomes in the queue ahead of it. And, to be honest, I initially thought it was like one of those sappy little Hallmark inspirational books (or those annoying internet memes featuring cute kittens saying “Hang in there, baby!”)
But then came a cold and dark early morning when I needed more than a mug of java to get me going, so I opened the small volume and read a page. This was not sappy stuff! Miranda has a breezy, slightly irreverent tone, and his pep talks are delightful. I am lucky enough to have lots of loved ones who cheer me on, but I know that’s not the case for many. For them, a book like this may be just the thing to make them feel supported and celebrated.
Now, there’s a line between affirmation and effusiveness, a line I sometimes crossed with my kids, and that my mom and Nana crossed with me. Nana used to carry a copy of the IQ test I took at age 4 IN HER PURSE (I can picture her whipping out my “stellar” score to show the unimpressed butcher at Harry’s Market). To Mom, everything I said and did was pure gold, to the point where I didn’t believe her. Recalling that, I tried to restrain myself from praising Sher’s compositions or Patrick’s soccer goals to the skies. Nowadays, I hear Aiden say, “Nana, why aren’t you clapping for me?” when he has a minor achievement, and I reply, “Look, Buddy, I love you but I’m not going to clap for every single thing you do.” Aiden is momentarily crushed by this news flash, but within minutes is back to happily playing. And his parents give the same response to him and to Peter; I predict the boys will grow up very well adjusted, without inflated egos.
I think it’s human nature to crave encouragement and acceptance, especially during the down times of life. Someone who believes in us, and doesn’t desert us when we fail (as we all do). We can and should be cheerleaders for each other, and give one another a little validation in a tough world. I think Lin-Manuel is on to something, and I hope his message spreads everywhere:
Gmorning, my friends. Have a wonderful day. You got this.