OFFSTAGE: “Then They Do”: This Is My Jam

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

I hate this is my jam: a 10-year-old Trace Adkins ballad about growing up . I would much rather be belting out songs about moonshine and moonlight and cutoffs and Tupelo honey. But I am stuck on this bittersweet song as I get ready to move my daughter into her college dorm in South Carolina today.

And I know I’m not alone. All my friends are in the same boat. As are the mothers and fathers of every 18-year-old who is either moving out — or somehow moving on — this fall.

The Adkins lyrics are just about as true as they are sad. There are days — a few of them when your baby hits the terrible twos, and then a few more when they turn into omniscient teenagers — when you can’t wait until they grow up. Then they do. And that’s how it is. It’s just quiet in the morning, you can’t believe how much you miss all they do and all they did. You want all the dreams they’ve dreamed of to come true. Then they do. (Hence the sweet that comes with that bitter.)

But his song isn’t the only one breaking my heart today. Suzy Bogguss‘ “Letting Go” and Adkins’ other be-careful-what-you-wish-for weeper “You’re Gonna Miss This” are bumming me out just as much. Sometimes all it takes is quietly humming one line from one song, and suddenly I’m that lady in the orientation cocktail reception who just can’t get it together.

Allow me to share some other songs from my miserable jam today, with these lyrical reminders that the hardest part of holding on is just letting go:

“She had that Honda loaded down with Abercrombie clothes and 15 pairs of shoes. There goes my life, there goes my future, my everything. I love you, baby, goodbye.” — Kenny Chesney

“It won’t be like this for long. One day soon that little girl is gonna be all grown up and gone.” — Darius Rucker

“She needs wide open spaces, room to make her big mistakes.” — Dixie Chicks

“How could 18 years just up and walk away? Our little pony-tailed girl growed up to be a woman, now she’s gone in the blink of an eye.” — Sara Evans

“Eighteen years had come and gone.” — Carrie Underwood

“Life goes faster than you think.” — Chesney

“I hope you never look back, but never forget all the ones who love you in the place you left.” — Rascal Flatts

“As she drives out, she’ll bawl her eyes out, if she’s anything like me.” — Brad Paisley

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.