“If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane…”
This parent blog may seem like an unlikely place to pay homage to Jimmy Buffett, but much like the lyrics he believed tied all of us together, his music is woven into my life as a mom. It may be 20 years since I’ve been to one of his shows, but yes, my kids will occasionally burst into “Cheeseburger in Paradise” or even “Son of a Son of a Sailor.”
As a new mom only two months into motherhood, Jimmy preserved my sanity. My oldest was not a good sleeper. We tried everything – the vacuum cleaner worked for a moment, but we couldn’t leave it running all night. White noise, baby music apps, they all had temporary success. From the fog of my sleep-deprived memory, I’m not sure how we hit on the idea, but we dug out a copy of “Songs You Know By Heart” and put it on repeat in her room.
It worked. (I’m pretty sure she didn’t pick up on the lyrics of “Why Don’t We Get Drunk.”) We brought it back a few years later when we were on vacation at an AirBnB in the Virginia mountains with no radio and the girls needed “something” to soothe them to sleep.
There was a period when our “temporary” stay with my parents and sister stretched from a few months to two years, and we’d take a Sunday drive with the girls just to give my family the house to themselves. Radio Margaritaville, often replaying one of Jimmy’s concerts, became the soundtrack for those drives as we explored every corner of Franklin County.
While I may not be considered the most colorful of Parrotheads, Jimmy’s music “permeate(s) through me.” I’ve always considered him one of the great philosophers of our time, as I can probably quote one of his songs as mantra for any occasion. (“I must confess, I could use some rest/I can’t run at this pace very long” gets muttered under my breath routinely.)
I had hoped to take the girls to a show one day, but there are bits of Jimmy wisdom I’ll continue to carry through my mom life, and lessons I hope my girls can learn from him. To paraphrase him when he DJ-ed the first-ever show on Radio Margaritaville, “I wish I could say this was well-planned and well-executed, but we’re just making it up as we go along.”
Jimmy’s tropical rock and laid-back vibes called to mind a lifestyle we’d all love to embrace permanently, and while we can’t necessarily live in Margaritaville, or wherever it’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere, we should find a way to stop, relax – maybe with a Boat Drink in hand – and soak up the sun.
After a bad day, “breathe in, breathe out, move on.”
In this age of side hustles and resume-building from birth, I want my girls to know they don’t have to be perfect or the best at something to pursue it wholeheartedly. Jimmy was rarely a critical darling, and he’d be the first to admit he wasn’t the best musician, but he threw himself into it and ended up with a job that never became work.
And at the end of the day, I hope they will remember a last piece of wisdom Jimmy left us with:
… just know that you are loved,
There is light up above,
And joy, there’s always enough.