Roundtable Talk: “Goodnight, My Love”

“Be strong, my son
Your mother, she needs you right now
Someday I’ll be gone
Be strong, my son
Your sister, she’s full of lightning
And all of my love

Artist: Story of the Year
“Goodnight, My Love”

Song Meaning

A father/husband admits his vulnerabilities to his family.

The Parent You Fear to Be

Hey, I’m a dad now! With that, I’ve had to summon all the strength and patience that I’ve unknowingly developed for almost three decades. Raising a newborn is as hard as they say, perhaps harder. But in my singular purpose of keeping the little nugget alive, I am strong. I have no choice but to be.

In the first months after birth, parents become indoctrinated and privy to all the hidden truths of parenting. Whether you’re 16 or 26, no one is ever really ready. Mothers go through so much more than their bodies and spirits deserve. And as a man, you are helpless for months while the mother of your child breastfeeds and provides comfort on a bi-hourly basis. Still, you pull the e-brake on your life and freedom immediately, getting back to it bits and pieces at a time.

Though this particular song is about a father further established than I am now, it tells of a future I fear coming. As a man, the stigma is that you provide strength, wisdom and leadership to your family. There’s no time to crumble into yourself and deal with demons – there are too many external circumstances at play.

And is that OK? How can a man, with a wife, son and daughter, as this song depicts, even think about taking a demon into the ring when he has so much to fight for, so much to lose?

The simple answer is that no dad ever really gets his issues 100 percent figured out before putting them on hold. But there is a strength in someday resolving whatever that may be – and that is another paternal lesson waiting to be taught.

So this song is a reminder that I may one day become my worst nightmare as a parent: weak. But if you’ve done your job well until that point comes, you’ll be in good hands.

Random Notes

  • The introductory riff to this song is pure lightning.
  • I get chills every time in the second verse when he updates the line to “reflections of a stronger me.” I’m a sucker for this simple-yet-effective songwriting tactic.
  • Wolves was a delightful surprise comeback album and, for the most part, a logical progression for 30-something punk rockers.
  • It’s fun to see what these “Warped Tour Bands” become after nearly a decade. As a fun tangent, go check out bands such as Yellowcard, New Found Glory and Hawthorne Heights. There are varying degrees of quality, but there’s something to be observed when you dip into current iterations of your past favorites.

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