In the tune, “Sad Songs” by Elton John, there is a line that says “When all hope is gone, sad songs say it so much.”
I bring it up as there are a lot of sad songs I hear on the radio each day. But, for me, one of the saddest songs ever is “Cat’s In The Cradle,” sung by the late Harry Chapin. The song has four verses. The first one is about when his child is born. The father is so busy that he misses his son learning to walk and also misses a lot of the talking. It ends with a toddler telling his Dad he’s going to be just like him when he grows up. In the second verse, the child is now ten years old., He receives a new ball and invites his Dad to play, but Dad was still too busy. The child said it was okay and still talked about growing up “just like his Dad.”
In the third verse, the son comes home from college. His Dad invites him to sit and chat. Instead, the son borrows the car and goes out.
In the final verse, the Dad is retired and the son has his own family. The Dad calls his son and asks about getting together. However, a new job and sick children prevent the son from having time to meet his father. The last line of the verse is “And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me. He’d grown up just like me. My boy was just like me.”
I was reminded of this song recently by my eight year old son. My eight-year-old likes me to tuck him in each night. It’s a little thing, but it’s very important to him. Most of the time I can, but sometimes I’m busy. I always tell him I’ll be a few minutes, but sometimes it gets late and he falls asleep waiting for me. A couple of nights ago was an instance where I was too late. When I went back to his room the next morning to check on him before going to work, I moved the blankets, which were twisted all around him. Then, I picked up his bear off the floor and put it back in bed with him. He woke up, looked at me, and said “Good night, Daddy.” He didn’t realize it was morning.
Life does call and I know there are things I need to do. However, whatever I’m doing, I always need to ensure that I‘m never too busy to tuck my son in.