Freedom awaits every parent once the kids are asleep.
But every night, a tired, cranky, grubby kid does everything in his power to keep it from you. There are fifteen, sixteen, or sometimes twenty-seven steps between you and freedom each night.
And I, a tired, cranky, grubby parent, hate every one of them.
Except for tonight, when Luke Combs changed everything.
Somehow, someway, the twelfth of Luke’s thirteen consecutive #1 singlesworked its way into my preschooler’s subconscious. He sat on the floor, naked, refusing to put on his pajama pants after his bath, and halting my steady march to freedom. A growing rage simmered in my eyes until my son suddenly opened his mouth and started singing:
“A bunch of good time numbers on the stall door A picture of you on a dart board Them cinder block walls ain’t ever been cleaned Still ain’t as dirty as you done me”
My wife and I swapped bewildered glances. The kid didn’t get all the words right (he’s four), but it was damn close. And there was no doubt about what song we were hearing.
We’d been splashed and screamed at and kicked and punched during bath time. We were prepping ourselves for the high stakes negotiations required to get teeth brushed and stories read. But our naked kid was singing “Cold as You” by Luke Combs, and suddenly we didn’t care about freedom anymore.
“Whiskey River’ on a jukebox A honky tonk sawdust dance floor A neon, five o’clock, broke clock And plenty damn many when you want one more Of this broke heart fool on an old bar stool Drinkin’ beer almost as cold as you”
We were screaming and pumping our fists (which is what you do when this song comes on at a show, in your car, when you step out of the bathtub butt naked, or anywhere, really). My son’s two-year-old younger brother (also naked) joined in, pumping his miniature fist with glee.
After the final line, my wife and I both felt the urge to punt phantom red Solo cups in our kid’s room, like Luke did at Stagecoach, in a demonstration of deceptive athleticism (for Luke and for me).
I’ve never been stoked during the bedtime routine before. But thanks to Luke Combs’ banger, “Cold as You”, and my four-year-old’s penchant for memorizing random shit, I was fired up on a Wednesday night while my kids were still awake for a change.
It’s so important to cherish every moment you can with your kids. But I can’t when they’re such little buttholes at night.
The bedtime routine is the worst. But tonight, I stumbled upon a remedy for the bedtime blues that everyone should know about. Here’s a hint: it’s got a bushy, red beard, wears the same black PFG shirt at every show, and can’t release a single that doesn’t go to #1.
Parents, if you want to find some unexpected joy in Bedtime Routine Purgatory, teach your kids a little Luke Combs and fist-pump your way to freedom while you drag those little buttholes to bed.