A chapter ending, but the stories only just begun… I’ve always got the memories while I’m finding out who I’m gonna be… We might be apart, but I hope you always know, you’ll be with me…Wherever I go…
My daughter and I had a lovely weekend recently. We had some “girl time” which of course included a viewing of her favorite shows, one being Hannah Montana Forever. (The “Forever” in the title denotes the last season of the show.) Now, I readily admit, I have not been a HM fan, or that big of a fan of her portrayer, Miley Cyrus. Although, here in the last few months, when she has been acting less like a whiny know-it-all and more like a real person, I have enjoyed her more. I really like her appearance in Rock Mafia’s video “The Big Bang” and in some of her more recent videos that have an “edge” to them. She is almost 18, so it is refreshing to see her come into her own. I've enjoyed watching her grow up. She's had her ups and downs in the media spotlight, but all in all, she's held her own. After all, you can’t be a “Disney Darling” forever. However, I have come to enjoy her character(s) on Hannah Montana Forever, but not necessarily for the reasons you’d expect.
Growing up seems to be the point of the final season of Hannah Montana — there comes a time in a person’s life where tough choices have to be made. For Miley Stewart (the character on HM that PLAYS Hannah), it comes between choosing to stay Hannah and miss out on having a boyfriend, Jesse, and not going to the college of her choice, Stanford, with her best friend, Lily (since Miley didn’t get in to Stanford due to a lack of extracurricular activities, since she couldn’t list Hannah Montana on her application because it would out her alter ego). In the hour-long episode, she has a heart-to-heart with both her dad (played by her real-life dad, Billy Ray Cyrus) and her alter ego, Hannah. Her dad told her he couldn’t make the decision for her — that she had to decide if staying Hannah was worth the sacrifices she (as Miley) would have to make. After all, the only reason they created Hannah was so that Miley could have a real life and not be burdened in middle and high school as a “star” and have people treat her differently. It was supposed to make her life easier, not more difficult. Was that still the case?
In the end, she decided to go on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno to come clean about Miley Stewart being Hannah all along. THIS is where it got surprising for me. She wrote this beautiful song about growing up and making choices (“Wherever I Go”). And then it hit me – one day in the not-to-distant future, my daughter is going to have to go though the same tough decisions. She is going to have heartache, friend problems, leave home for bigger and brighter things, and start living her own life. I won’t be able to make decisions for her, because she will have to decide what is right for her. I hope that between her dad and me, we will have given her all the necessary tools to make those decisions, but she will still have the responsibility to do what is best for her.
And so, with watching the montage of Miley as Hannah growing up though the years, listening to her sing this wonderful song about growing up, I cried. Not so much because I will miss the show, but I know someday soon, my 8 year-old will be thinking the same thing. I never thought I would get so emotional by watching a Hannah Montana episode, but this one really got me in the gut. Then, if that wasn’t enough, my darling little girl started singing along with Miley, just belting out the song, totally uninhibited and strong. What this episode taught me is that one day, it will be time to let my baby girl go. That my husband and I will have taught her the best we could and there will be a time to watch her fly and soar on her own. Who would’ve thought a Hannah Montana episode could be so deep? I will cherish every memory of her childhood (which has already flown by) and know that she will be with me forever, wherever SHE goes…
To see more of this final chapter, tune in December 5 on the Disney Channel to see what happens next... I know I will be watching this, holding my daughter and hoping that she doesn't grow up too fast!
Conni Ironmonger-Mann lives in Yorktown with her husband, Don, and daughter and can be found either watching TV from her sofa or writing her dissertation (guess which one is more fun?) You can read her blog at dailypress.com/dpop or follow her on Twitter at @Conniim.