Thursday, July 9, 2015

Rob:The Gambler - A lullaby for the ages

While I appreciate and enjoy music, I wouldn't call myself a fanatic. I like music and I love dancing. Especially the goofy kind of dancing that will one day embarrass the kids but I don't have that fanatical kind of love of music that many I know do.

Laura and my eldest daughter truly love music. They know all the words to most of the current hits from Taylor Swift and Katy Perry. I know this because we watch the videos on Youtube and listen to them constantly in the car. Yet, I don't really know any of the words other than a few lines from the particularly catchy choruses.

Excluding children's songs and our national anthem, I don't really know the words to any songs with one exception: The Gambler.  I'm not entirely sure sure why, but I know every word to the great Kenny Rogers' The Gambler.

Maybe it's because that song has special meaning for me. It reminds me of my grandfather who passed away more than 20 years ago. It also reminds me of high school and singing around campfires with good friends who I rarely see anymore.

More recently, it reminds me of my children as newborns. I used to sing The Gambler to each of my girls as a lullaby. Partially because it's the only song I really know and partially because of the soothing softness of the melody.


Until today, I hadn't actually heard The Gambler since an ill-fated attempt a few months back to educate my family on rockabilly and classic rock through Youtube which resulted in a ban on all dad music choices.

On my way home this afternoon it came on the radio and I was immediately struck by the lyrics, but not in the traditional sense. Instead, I started thinking about how, as new parents, everything is unfamiliar and exhausting. Much like the character in the song who receives advice from the Gambler:

On a warm summer's eve / On a train bound for nowhere / I met up with the gambler / we were both too tired for sleep

There isn't a parent out there who doesn't know that exhausted feeling during the first few months. That moment when the baby has finally drifted off and you're lying there, so tired and so ready for sleep, but it just won't come.

So we took turns a-starin' / Out the window at the darkness / The boredom overtook us, / And he began to speak

Who doesn't remember those late nights, watching infomercials over and over again with the baby resting in your arms. If I never watch the SlapChop, Ninja or Magic Bullet again if will be too soon. I may not know the words to many songs, but I can recite almost every line from these.


He said, "Son, I've made a life / Out of readin' people's faces / Knowing what the cards were / By the way they held their eyes

Friends, other parents and grandparents who've already gone through the early stages understand and get it. Everyone hits that exhausted breaking point and everyone else who's gone through it can see it on your face.

So if you don't mind me saying' / I can see you're out of aces / For a taste of your whiskey / I'll give you some advice"

Taking advice during this stage is always a touchy subject and perhaps you need that whiskey more than they do but people often just want you to know that it gets better.  Babies eventually sleep and at some point, so will you too.

So I handed him my bottle / And he drank down my last swallow / Then he bummed a cigarette  / And asked me for a light / And the night got deathly quiet / And his face lost all expression / He said, "If you're gonna play the game, boy / You gotta learn to play it right

For most of us, we made the conscious decision to become parents but even if we didn't, now that we're in the thick of it, we need to do it the best that we can.  Our children are depending on us to get it right.

You've got to know when to hold'em / Know when to fold 'em / Know when to walk away / And know when to run

Parenting, especially with babies, isn't always about being perfect.  It's about knowing and reading the cues, including your own.  It's about knowing when to stay strong and when to back away.

You never count your money / When you're sittin' at the table / There'll be time enough for countin' / When the dealin's done

Enjoy the ride because once they are out of that stage, you can't get it back.

These days I'm more like the Gambler than his silent travelling companion and can perhaps provide some wisdom of my own to new parents. However, I will miss those tender late night moments, singing softly to each of my three girls and every time I hear The Gambler it will remind me of them.

Do you have a song that reminds you of a stage with your children or a song that immediately reminds you of another special time in your life?


Songwriter: Don Schlitz
Singers: Kenny Rogers and me

Linkys:





21 comments:

  1. Yes, it's an exhausting time in our lives and one that any parent will recognise, but I don't think that any of us would change a single thing. Make the most of your kids for as long as possible - they grow up way too fast x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so true. When we are living through it there are times that we can wait for it to be done and when it's over, I know I look back fondly at those late nights. Thanks for reading.

      Delete
  2. I love Kenny Rogers but mostly his restaurant which is a big thing in the Philippines as they are healthy.

    And I know few of his songs but not this one so I looked at it in youtube. I love it and the words so I get why you love it and its a good anthem with the kids too =)

    #pocolo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading. Kenny is one of my favorites and I remember the restaurant.

      Delete
  3. I have so many, especially from my teenage years, but there's one in particular which my son did a dance show to that still makes my heart flutter. Ali from Mum in a Nutshell guest hosting at #PocoLo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so funny that certain songs you would never think will create a special memory but then they do and you can't think of them any other way. Thanks for guest hosting the #PoCoLo.

      Delete
  4. I love how you related the lyrics to parenting, and you're so right, this song could easily have been written with new parents in mind. Really interesting perspective :)
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes :)
    Debbie
    www.myrandommusings.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Debbie. I really like your linky and am impressed with your ability to write and focus on blogging. I don't know how you find the time.

      Delete
  5. I love the way that music can instantly transport you to a place in time.
    I'm pretty sure the lullabies I'm singing to my little one at the moment will become sweet memories in the future.
    I totally agree about making the most of all the parenting moments, my baby is almost 11 months and almost out of the small baby stage, not sure where the time went!
    #AnythingGoes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true and enjoy that time with your little one. It goes by so quickly.

      Delete
  6. The first cassette I ever owned, (dating myself) was Kenny Rogers, 20 Greatest hits. Good stuff

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll date myself even more by saying we used to go over to my grandparents and listen to the exact same album on their 8Track Player. Thanks for reading.

      Delete
  7. Quite a few of the songs I sang to the cubs were ones my parents sang to me. I think my mum had a cassette with them on: 'Puff the Magic Dragon', 'Feed the Birds', 'Never Smile at a Crocodile'. Maybe one day I'll teach them to the boys for them to sing to their own kids!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used to love Puff the Magic Dragon. I'm sure my mom used to sing that one to me as a little boy.

      Delete
  8. It's amazing that by hearing a song you can be taken back to another time! That song holds so much special meaning to you & your family now. It's cool that the lyrics relate to parenting as well. Visiting from #AnythingGoes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Cuddle Fairy. I really like you writing as well. It's true and this song has always spoken to me. It just has extra special meaning now.

      Delete
  9. What a great song and a great way to see the lyrics in a whole different way. Parenthood is such a roller coaster but so worth the fun! Thanks for sharing this with #momsterslink.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My pleasure. There are always so many great posts up on the link.

      Delete
  10. I love music. But then I wouldn't be a music teacher if I didn't! Music is so good as a reflective thing. Lyrics can change one minute to another and make a mixture of feelings. This definitely sums up parenting. Great post. Loved it. Thanks for linking up with us on the #bigfatlinky hope to see you there this week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Martyn. Much appreciated.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete