I love when you go away

 

I love when you go away  

then I get to clean up the mess you made  

stare through the streaks in the glass all day  

here with the boredom I’ve begged for begged for  

eh

 

When my sister first heard this song, “Go Away,” she asked casually, “How does Stephan feel that you wrote that song about him?” I let her know that it was actually not about my husband, but directed toward my then only son Maceo, 3 ½ years old at the time and in the full messy glory of toddlerhood — what I often refer to as “the adolescence of babyhood.”

For his part, Mr. Crump is actually happy with any ambiguity regarding the subject of the song and has no problem with anyone thinking he is the subject – he thinks that this, perhaps as any song, is more effective if I leave it open. To let the listener speculate, and make their own connection to whomever’s occasional absence they themselves may long for, allows them inside the song and the experience.

And it’s true that I do love it, to a point, when he is on tour or off for the night at a late gig, and I am left with the house to myself, with the boys asleep or off at Grandma’s house. To carve out my own plan, to putter, to read..

 

I’m happy you get to play

I’m glad that I get to stay here with my fantasies

they might be small but ok

don’t want a thing but to finish my coffee

 

But more than yearning for solitary unstructured time, the song came from a place of reckoning with a new and unfamiliar side of myself, a side that would explode without warning in irrational reaction to the irrational tantrum of a 3 year old. He was 3. What was my excuse? I had always been pretty much patient and calm.

 

I love when you go away

my patience returns like a long-lost friend

the furies they fly out the window

their sovereignty at its end

 

I need you to go away

for a minute for an hour for a blessed day

pack up your mirror take that ugly woman away

 

That time has passed, Maceo is a cool and rational 7, and now when my 2nd round of 3-year old volatility hits my blind spot in the form of young Van, I am better equipped to take it in stride. Maybe to a fault – sometimes it seems I barely notice high decibel screaming or furious crying. That ugly side of me, the one that would roar and throw a book against the wall (a little floppy kids book, but still.. not proud) in an outburst of frustration at another overlong bedtime, has not been in evidence for many months. And the fact is that these boys are basically really good, and so darn cute.

But I still sing the song of course, because it was true enough once, and because it’s very fun to play. We’ll record it in a few weeks for my new album Reckoning.

Like so many things, the song also reminds me of my immense privilege, that I am blessed with enough material and emotional and familial resources as a mother to know that its basically going to be okay. That I am doing a pretty decent job and that they are flourishing. That I get to hold them tight for enough hours in the day that it’s alright for me to sometimes want them to go away.

 

do I feel guilty?

not really

I watch your breath rise and fall in your sleep at night

each morning, I’m reeling from

any kiss, any touch, any smile, any kindnesses

you are willing to bestow

 

I love to take a walk unencumbered

I love to read and read and read and read

anything that’s in front of my face except you

 

do I feel guilty?

not really

I watch your breath rise and fall in your sleep each night

each morning I’m reeling from

any smile, any touch, any kiss any kindnesses

you are willing to bestow

 

polysyllabic words that you say

I say them back

we talk all the time

time flies it stops it goes in a circle

I look at my watch through each story time

some stories I love

I revel in rhyme

they fall off my lips

they drip down like wine

I’m drinking you in

I’m spitting you out

I’m trying to learn

what it’s all about

 

Please join me in the making of my new album, Reckoning
http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/jenchapin

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