I know; I'm really late to this party. My girls were too
young when the movies came out, but thanks to DVDs and soundtracks,
it's all Wildcats all the time in our house.
Honestly, it's been a fun departure from the princess
movies. I am a big fan of musicals, from Broadway to Grease
to Glee. If I could live a life where I broke into song every
time I needed to release something, I would be a very happy person
(but my husband would be miserable).
But as much as I enjoy HSM (I am into the acronym now), I never
thought of it as very deep. I just accepted it as utopian
high school, where everyone accepts everybody else, where everybody
has fun, where there are no drugs, drinking, or inappropriate
But to my surprise, I was actually moved to tears during our
first viewing of HSM 2. I was sitting on the bed with my
computer, "watching" with the girls (when in actuality I was really
working), when one of Gabriella's songs caught my attention.
She realizes that she needs to take care of herself and leave
the summer job, leave her friends, and most crushing, leave
Troy. When she expresses how she feels she is aware, real and
honest. I know, I know, it's HSM, but just as she began to
sing I was making some big decisions of my own.
Like all other moms, I can only take on so many things (work
related or otherwise). Many years ago I made a deal with
myself that if something new comes in, something needs to go
out. I want to keep family time and personal time sacred and
I don't want to feel overwhelmed by too much expectation or
But in that moment I was trying to figure out how to fit it all
in - not because I wanted to, but because I felt that people were
depending on me. I didn't want to disappoint, lose an
opportunity, or burn a bridge. Like so many times before
(this is a familiar pattern in my life), I was on the verge of
putting everyone else's needs before my own.
And then here comes Gabriella, singing about how sometimes you
need to walk away. Sometimes you need to realize your
priorities and say good bye. And you don't need to do it with
stress, anger or guilt; it can be warm, honest and sincere.
So all of the sudden I'm crying. And of course, my girls
assumed I was crying because she was leaving Troy (which is sad,
too), but in reality, I was thinking about me.
I was thinking about all the times I didn't walk away when I
should have (from a person, job or self-imposed obligation), or the
times I decided to lie or create drama so I could deflect attention
and not fully embrace my decision.
But the song was a good reminder for me - that it's OK to say no
simply because it's the best choice for me. Part of my job as
an individual and as a parent is to take care of myself so I can
contribute to my family and the world around me. And that
starts with being authentic and not making choices based on what
others expect me to do.
So thank you, Gabriella. I just put your song on my mix
and I will play it whenever I need the reminder.
Fine, fine, you can all call me cheesy if you want to, but I
take lessons when they show up…..I'm not picky about how they get
It's so hard to say,
But I've gotta do what's best for me
You'll be okay…….
I've got to move on and be who I am
I just don't belong here
I hope you understand
We might find a place in this world someday
But at least for now….
I gotta go my own way
~ Gotta Go My Own Way, from High School Musical
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.
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