What I Learned (& Loved) From Watching Encanto

sparkler up close, best songs from EncantoIf your family is like my family, you have heard, watched, or recited Encanto about a million times since it came out. This soon-to-be classic is about the magical Madrigal family and their enchanted house. Almost every person in the family has been granted magical gifts. Mirabel is the only one without a gift; Bruno is the absent uncle no one talks about; Luisa has the gift of strength; Isabela can create flowers and beautiful things. Mirabel, Bruno, Luisa, and Isabela each have songs in this movie that we can relate to. As a mom, all the best songs in Encanto spoke to me, and I really connected with them emotionally.


We don’t talk about Bruno…

Bruno is the third of Grandma Alma’s triplets and the estranged family member of the Madrigal family. He has the ability to see into the future and is honest with his family about their fates. But his family doesn’t approve of his gift and premonitions, so he disappears; the Madrigal family doesn’t talk about him or his problems. So many of us have someone like this in our families, that person we put in the back of our memories and forget about when family reunions come around. We ignore uncomfortable conversations about this person and avoid them if we can. I can relate to Bruno because he isn’t afraid to tackle the uncomfortable conversations with his family. I’ve had to have some uncomfortable conversations with some of my close family members. I did it for my mental health and in my case, there were some consequences, but I am much happier that I spoke my truth.


But wait if I could shake the crushing weight of expectations; would that free some room up for joy?

This is Luisa’s solo about the pressures of her gift of strength. Luisa is given the gift of super strength, but she feels the pressure from her family and the whole town to lift everything and carry a tremendous load. As moms or any caregiver, we can all relate. The pressure and expectations society puts on us when we raise children is immense. Moms are supposed to have it figured out: balance a career, home, social life…and do all this with a smile. I’ve definitely felt this pressure raising my two young children, and I cried when I heard this song. To me, Luisa’s gift is more of a curse—people look up to her but also expect her to carry the entire family and town. When her gift weakens, the weight of that burden becomes clear, and she feels like a failure. As moms, we all feel this, and we need to speak up so we can also feel joy like Luisa.


Who I am inside, so what can I do? I’m sick of waiting for a miracle, so here I go.

Mirabel is the only child in the magical Madrigal family who didn’t receive a gift. She wants to prove to her family that she is still special and has a gift to offer, but she’s unsure of who she is and not always confident. This is totally an anthem for mental health, and for my mental health. For the last two years, I have struggled, like a lot of people, with my mental health. The pandemic jolted my mental wellbeing, and I was lost for a long time. I feel like we are all waiting for a miracle, whether it’s with jobs, family situations, or just overall normal life.


There’s nothing you can’t do; What else can I do?

Isabela is Mirabel’s “perfect sister” and is graceful, poised, and beautiful. She is full of confidence, praised by everyone in the Madrigal family and adored by the entire town. She is able to make plants grown and flowers bloom. But her gift is also a curse, as she can only make beautiful things. When she suddenly starts to lose her ability, she sees the beauty in the simple, imperfect things in the world. As a mother, I can feel Isabela’s heart and soul in this song. She only thought she could do one thing: grow flowers. I always say to people, “I’m just a mom,” when in fact, I am so much more. I nurture and care for two tiny humans every day, and I am the glue and backbone of our family. As moms, we shouldn’t limit ourselves—we can do anything! We can work, we can succeed and fail, we can have personal lives, we can be ourselves, and we can do it all and raise families.

Encanto is the perfect movie for families to watch together. Kids, parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts can gather together and relate to the sweet themes of this movie. This multigenerational movie shows families that we all bring gifts to the table, and no one person or gift is more important than other. I’ve actually enjoyed watching it over and over because I can relate to all the characters in a small way. They are all flawed and perfect. “The miracle is not some magic that you’ve got; the miracle is you.” The gifts and talents that we are given are not all that we are. Just being you is enough. That lesson is so important to teach kids and adults: You are enough.

Who were your favorite characters in Encanto? What songs or lyrics did you connect with in the movie?

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Ashley was born and raised in North Texas and settled down in Frisco. She met her husband while playing intramural basketball at UNT. Ashley taught pre-k and then was a trainer for a technology company until having her two sweet boys. She loves cooking, going for walks with the whole family, and exploring new restaurants all over DFW. She's a hardcore Disney lover and loves to explore and travel with her family.