I always liked the melody to Jonathon Coulton’s You Ruined Everything but it wasn’t until Simone spewed forth our beautiful spawn, Bella, that it (and Coulton) officially entered The Vaunted Halls of Things Peter Nabicht Geeks Out Over.” Seriously, for keeps.
For a lot of parents, having a kid is a conscientious choice. You are living your life, thinking: “We’ve got this down, this whole living our life thing. It isn’t so bad. We can handle it. In fact, we’re so damned good at it, we should have a kid and share our mastery of life with offspring. No problem!” This is a noble but stupid assumption, roughly akin to thinking a successful grocery trip qualifies you to solve world-wide hunger. It isn’t long after having the kid that you ask your new, less well groomed and rested self, “What was I doing? I had life down. I was the man. And then I went and had a kid? I was not prepared for prepared for this. What I used to have is gone!”
This is what You Ruined Everything is about is about. It is a lovely song that captures being a parent right after you realize your identity has changed and it will never go back to how it used to be. But at the same time you are completely and utterly in love with a person you only just met and can’t hold her own head up. If you aren’t a parent, trust me, it is an odd odd feeling. The song popped up on my iPod today and while working, I heard the first lovely verse:
I was fine I pulled myself together
just in time to throw myself away
Once my perfect world was gone, I knew
You ruined everything in the nicest way.
You should know how great things were before you
Even so, they’re better still today
Now I can’t think who I was before
You ruined everything in the nicest way
It has been a while since I’ve seen Coulton live so I decided to find out the date of his next Chicago show. And low and behold: it’s tonight! Fantastic! I’m going. I’m buying some tickets, even if I have to pay double to a scalper. I’m calling up my wife and telling her to put on her dancing shoes because hubby’s takin’ her out! We’re going to see JoCo — Yeah!
But wait, that’s what the old me would do. The new me — the parent me — just wants to go home and make dinner for my daughter. Then we’ll read books with 4 word sentences that we’ve read umpteen-thousand times before and maybe sing about wheels on a bus. And I know that to the uninitiated this sounds horrible, but it isn’t. It is the picture of a wonderful night.
So while I really really want to live the perfect life of the old me, where I could last minute decide to go to a concert, I’d much rather go home and be the new, dad-me, scared shitless that I’ll screw something up but diving headfirst anyway. Kid, you ruined everything in the nicest way.