A whopping 84 Grammys were awarded this year (though not all were obviously doled out during Sunday night’s Grammy Award telecast). Childish Gambino, aka Donald Glover, took home three of them, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Lady Gaga picked up a couple, too. Country star Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour took home Album of the Year honors, putting an exclamation point on an awards show that, many said, was dominated by women.
But perhaps the best award was actually given to a nominee who didn’t win and wasn’t even at the Grammys. It was this:
That’s 7-year-old Willow Sage Hart, hoisting a homemade aluminum-foil Grammy above her head. She’s the daughter of pop artist Pink, who was nominated for her 20th Grammy (for Beautiful Trauma), but who lost for Best Pop Vocal Album to Ariana Grande’s Sweetener. Not that she was there to accept the award had she won, anyway. She stayed home from the Grammys ceremony Sunday night, doing what many a mother can relate to: caring for a sick kid. After Grande took home the Grammy, Pink tweeted this:
I think it’s kind of rad that I just lost my 20th Grammy nomination. I’m always honored to be included. Now to get this sick baby in the bathtub. Congrats to all the nominees! Have fun tonight.
For my money, Pink has long been one of music’s most interesting artists. Her music’s often brutally confessional, and while Plugged In has been critical of its harsher, sometimes bitter iterations, we’ve also offered some praise, too. Of Beautiful Trauma, my colleague Adam Holz wrote this:
There’s something beautiful about having the courage to pour out one’s heart and soul, especially in today’s culture, where so many celebrities strive to create an eternally happy facade. But while honesty and transparency should be highly valued, there is a distinct difference between transparency that ends in hope, and that which ends in despair. Beautiful Trauma delivers both kinds of transparency.
I, too, value honesty in art. But I’m even more struck by Pink as a mother than as a musician. While plenty of celebrities have kids, sometimes you get the sense that they’re almost an afterthought, an accessory, maybe—like a purse dog.
Unfair? Probably. But with Pink, you really get the sense that for her, she’s a mom who just moonlights as a pop star. And like most moms, she sometimes worries that she’s not the mother she should be.
“It’s the most amazing, overwhelming, beautiful, terrifying blessing in the world,” she told Britain’s The Sun newspaper after the birth of her second child, Jameson. “And yet sometimes I can’t believe how sad I feel. … I haven’t quite figured [parenthood] out yet.”
Last year, Pink posted this:
View this post on Instagram
China live dim sum class San Francisco. I feel like I had it all figured out when she was younger. When it was just her. Now that there’s two, and such different ages, I feel flustered so much of the time. The older she gets the less clear I am on how to guide her. Do I take the raw honest tough way? Do I cuddle her and tell her to not to worry? Do I let her be sassy knowing I want her to be strong and need her to be strong to survive in this world? Of course, but how do you interject subtlety and kindness? I already know I worry too much, don’t even bother telling me about that. I’m aware. Thoughts?
“I feel like I had it all figured out when she was younger,” she writes. “[But] the older [my daughter] gets the less clear I am on how to guide her.” How many moms can relate to that?
Listen, I’m not telling anyone to run out and be a mom just like Pink. And I hardly think that the singer has a lot of Focus on the Family parenting books lining her shelves. But I’ve always believed there’s some truth in Woody Allen’s old adage that “80% of life is showing up.” As a parent, Pink is showing up. She’s caring for her kids, even as she struggles to figure out just what that looks like. In fact we catch another poignant glimpse of her mother’s heart in the cover she and Willow Sage recorded of the song “A Million Dreams” from the album The Greatest Showman: Reimagined:
Whatever Pink’s thoughts on what an ideal parenthood look like, she understands its importance. Her priorities seem spot on. And when she says that an aluminum foil Grammy is her “favorite kind of award,” you get the sense she means it. Because really, that tinfoil Grammy means more—and should mean more—than a warehouse filled with the real things.
Eighty-four Grammys were handed out this year. But the one Pink received was one-of-a-kind—shaped by little, loving hands.
And that’s the one you want on the mantel.