I love seeing musicians in small venues mostly because they tend to reveal the secrets behind their songs. Many people don’t like having the curtain pulled back from the wizard, but the story behind an artist’s Why is often more fascinating the actual product.
We saw the lovely Dar Williams perform over the weekend. She introduced my favorite, “The One Who Knows,” saying it was written after spending time with a friend and her two children. She added that to this day it surprises her that she had created it before she herself had children seeing that she had captured so accurately what she now felt as a mother.
Before I had Baby Boy, I interpreted 99% of songs to be about romantic love, obvious odes to pick up trucks notwithstanding. Now hearing this anew from a mother’s point of view, it had me in tears as no song has done before.
This is the chorus that ran through my head all weekend:
“You’ll fly away, but take my hand until that day. So when they ask how far love goes, when my job’s done you’ll be the one who knows.”
Is that not just so beautiful?
What those words awoke in me is that despite all the stress and struggle that raising children can be, it is such a short amount of time that we have them beside us. It is easy to shuffle through the days letting the laundry and homework and diapers and crumbs outshine the gorgeous light that surrounds our children. If we ignore this light though, it is going to vanish. (Long before they make us drop them off two blocks from school so we don’t embarrass them.)
I see too many parents resigned to the fact that their kids “are brats” and they complain about them and all the work and live an endless sigh.
So this is my love letter of sorts to the slices of precious time amidst the rigamarole; you know, the real reason we had children in the first place.
Parenthood is living for the moments in between...
Feeling the excitement in your changing world
in between guessing for a boy or a girl.
The adoration you feel upon first seeing their face
in between wishing the house had more space.
A full body snuggle with a soft and sweet kiss
in between making piles of lists.
Having a charged camera right at your side
in between moments you’ve sadly let slide.
Reaching out to stable the shaky first step
in between the falls where both of you wept.
His actually eating a few bites of food
in between throwing it, “Honey, that’s rude!”
Her using good manners at a play date
in between your being constantly late.
The first time baby correctly calls, “Mum!”
In between using the dog as a drum.
The most melodic giggles galore
in between mountains of toys on the floor.
The pride that comes with sharing their dreams
in between working through struggles and screams.
Wrapped in a blanket under the moon
in between locking themselves in their room.
Keeping faith that their souls are true
in between the phase of “Dad, I hate you!”
Watching them dress for their very first date
in between their coming home way too late.
The years in between birth and eighteen
it went by so fast, like clouds in a dream.
Sending them off into the world on their own
in between heartbreak at your baby birds flown.
In between the longing and sadness and fears
knowing you’ll love them for ten thousand years.