I remember my daughter’s first steps, her first words, the first book she read all by herself, her first day of school, the first movie she loved, her first crush, her first heart break, the day my best friend and I dropped her off at college, all of it a tapestry of memories, forever playing notes in my soul. One of those country songs waiting to happen.
I no longer recall the pain that came with the struggles of raising a daughter on my own, the exhaustion, the stress of trying to provide a good life for the two of us. I know at times it was very hard, but from the moment I held my daughter the first time, all regret was gone. Even though, I had no business having a child when I did, a child I knew I would have to raise on my own.
My story is not that unusual. Wendell Mobley and Neil Thurber wrote about my life for Kenny Chesney to sing about way back in 2003 when Kate was only ten years old. It told the story of young man getting his girlfriend pregnant, giving up his dreams, and staying to raise a child and finding love and delight in his decision.
That was not quite my story. There was no young man in my life. It was just me, immature, unsure of what I wanted, not settled, dead broke, and pregnant before my life even began. So I saw myself in that song, but only as far as the second verse. Yeah, I loved my little girl and there was nothing I would trade her for. Then the years rolled by.
My daughter went to the University of Georgia for college, just down the road a spell from where I lived. She had been accepted at schools as far away as California, but decided to stay close for a short while longer. And so I thought she would remain tied to the South, to home.
After all, I had dreams too that fell away over the years, dreams of living in the UK, living as a gypsy traversing the world with nothing but a backpack and pen and paper for writing. Perhaps, I was not so brave as my daughter. Perhaps, that mistake I thought I made simply spawned new dreams.
Friday morning, March 10, 2017, my life got up before dawn and drove away. My daughter, Kate, moved to Brooklyn, New York. To stay. This is how things are meant to be. I know that. I am so proud of my little girl. Still, who knew things would go so fast? The lyrics of that old song changed to strip my life bare and left me bleeding. There goes my life.
All she could think about was I’m too young for this. Got my whole life ahead. Hell I’m just a kid myself. How’m I gonna raise one?
All she could see were her dreams goin’ up in smoke. So much for ditchin’ this town and hangin’ out on the coast. Oh well, those plans are long gone.
And she said, There goes my life. There goes my future, my everything. Might as well kiss it all good-bye. There goes my life…….
A couple years of up all night and a few thousand diapers later. That mistake she thought she made covers up the refrigerator. Oh yeah……….she loves that little girl.
Momma’s waiting to tuck her in, As she fumbles up those stairs. She smiles back at her dragging that teddy bear. Sleep tight, big eyes and bouncin’ curls.
She smiles….. There goes my life. There goes my future, my everything. I love you, mommy good-night. There goes my life.
She had that Honda loaded down. With Abercrombie clothes and 15 pairs of shoes and her American Express. She checked the oil and slammed the hood, said you’re good to go. She hugged her tight and headed up the East Coast.
And she cried, There goes my life. There goes my future, my everything. I love you. Baby good-bye.
There goes my life. There goes my life.