Sunday mornings: Hamilton, stuffing and motherforking shirtballs


More so than any other time of the week, weird and wonderful things happen on Sunday mornings in our household.

My parents and brother came to stay last weekend. As usual, that meant you would have found me in the kitchen for much of Sunday morning, cooking a roast for the eight of us.

Sunday roasts are very much my domain. I ensconce myself away in the kitchen, hang a metaphorical ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door and potter around with my well-practised routine. Various trays go periodically into the oven. Pans of water go on to boil. There’s a steady stream of washing up and drying that prevents the kitchen from descending into the sort of chaos even a teenage boy would deem ‘untidy’.

And there’s music; always music. My default choice is the Hamilton soundtrack but you’re just as likely to hear me singing along to an 80s or musicals playlist.

Usually it’s a solitary affair. But this Sunday, I had Kara for company for a spell.

Kara and Daddy

Musicals and stuffing balls

It started with her rolling stuffing balls for me, a job she takes with the utmost seriousness. Of course, we have to have the right selection of music for the task at hand. Recently we’ve been listening to a lot of Queen together. But this time we fell back into the comforting arms of our playlist of songs from musicals and films. This contains an eclectic mix of classics – West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Grease – and more modern entries – The Greatest Showman, the Frozen films, Mary Poppins Returns. Of course, there are several tracks from Hamilton, but also our current favourite, its spiritual predecessor In the Heights.

Regardless of what’s playing, Kara is word-perfect on many of the songs and the two of us will happily duet endlessly. Food prep doesn’t feel like such a chore when there are two of you singing through it all.

Kara and I do this a lot. It makes us happy.

Holy motherforking shirtballs

If music is a common enough obsession for a pre-teen girl, I wonder how many snuggle up on the sofa to watch The Good Place with their dads? A lot fewer, I’d wager.

A comedy about the misadventures of four humans in the afterlife – and which focusses on the not exactly lightweight topics of ethics and moral philosophy – isn’t the sort of thing you’d ordinarily expect a seven-year-old to be interested in. I certainly didn’t expect Kara to be. And yet on a couple of occasions it has caught her attention while I’ve been watching it. So I asked her if the idea of watching the series together with me from the beginning appealed to her.

She said yes.

And so that’s exactly what we did in and around cooking Sunday lunch, watching the pilot episode together, giggling at the jokes – in particular the mangling of swear words into terms which are deemed acceptable in the afterlife. Check on social media and it won’t take you long to find someone using a “Holy-motherforking-shirtballs” GIF. (It will probably be me.) Less than a week later, she’s already halfway through the first season. (You have to love Netflix.)

It’s not the sort of thing I ever expected to be doing with my seven-year-old daughter. Okay, laughing at fart jokes isn’t a surprise. But listening to her surprisingly insightful observations on how the show presents the concept of heaven and the afterlife is.

Stuff like this is part of the delight of parenthood though, isn’t it? Our children are a constant source of amazement and inspiration to me, no matter what day of the week it is. But Sunday morning is definitely the time when the most weird and wonderful things tend to happen.


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