Song of the Day #4,369: ‘Letting You Go’ – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

I’m interrupting Random Weekends for a day in order to mark a special occasion… the 18th birthday of my daughter, Sophia!

Sophia has been mentioned on the blog quite a few times over the years. Her first appearance during the Song of the Day era came all the way back at Song of the Day #6, when she was just six years old.

Her childhood has gone by in a flash, and I couldn’t be more proud of the smart, independent woman she has become. I’m so impressed by her self-confidence and righteousness, her humor and grace.

This closing song from Jason Isbell’s new album Reunions hit me especially hard, coming out just months before Sophia will head to college.

Isbell wrote this for his 4-year-old daughter, and in the final verse he time travels ahead to her future wedding. I don’t think Sophia will get married anytime soon, but the speed with which she went from little girl to young woman sure felt like time travel to me.

I love Isbell’s final lines about trusting his daughter to know who’ll be strong enough to carry her heart, and the end of the chorus: “It’s easy to see that you’ll get where you’re going, the hard part is letting you go.”

I identify so much with those lines. I’m not worried for Sophia at all. I’ve seen enough to know that she will kick the world’s ass.

I’m just sad that soon she’ll no longer be down the hall. Our goodnights and I love yous will happen mostly on the phone.

I know that relating to your kids as adults brings a whole new set of pleasures, and I look forward to those. But I’ll always miss my little girl.

Happy Birthday, Sophia! Love, Daddy.

[Verse 1]
The nurse helped us buckle the seat in the car
And they sent us on our way, I drove home so slow
We had no instructions, the first days were hard
But there’s things about babies a woman just knows

Three in the morning I lay my hand over
Your heart just to know you were safe in your sleep
When you started walking I fight back the urge
To stay right there beside you, keep you on your feet

[Chorus]
Being your daddy comes natural
The roses just know how to grow
It’s easy to see that you’ll get where you’re going
The hard part is letting you go
The hard part is letting you go

[Verse 2]
It didn’t take long to see you got the best of me
And your mama’s merciful heart in your eyes
And helping her raise you has taught me to see through
The great fog of loneliness, the devil’s the sky

[Chorus]
Being your daddy comes natural
The roses just know how to grow
It’s easy to see that you’ll get where you’re going
But the hard part is letting you go
The hard part is letting you go

[Verse 3]
And now you’ve decided to be someone’s wife
And we’ll walk down the aisle and I’ll give you away
I wish I could walk with them back through your life
To see every last minute of every last day

To hear your first words and to feel your first heartbreak
To sing you to sleep when you’re scared of the dark
The best I can do is to let myself trust that you know
Who’ll be strong enough to carry your heart

[Chorus]
And being your daddy comes natural
The roses just know how to grow
It’s easy to see that you’ll get where you’re going
The hard part is letting you go
The hard part is letting you go

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,369: ‘Letting You Go’ – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Such a beautiful birthday tribute to a special young lady!

    Time certainly does go by quickly, but the fact that it is the lyrics of this song, rather than something like “Cat’s in the Cradle,” with which you identify reflects just how much you have been a presence in your daughters’ lives. You and Alex should be exceedingly proud of the fierce young women you have raised, and I know you are.

    Happy 18th birthday, Sophie! I look forward to raising a glass to toast you and celebrate your birthday tomorrow.

  2. Amy says:

    Does this blog feel like a 3rd child after 12 years? 😜

    I love songs about parenthood, of which I think there are far too few. Marc Cohen’s “Things We’ve Handed Down” and Bruce Hornsby’s “Fields of Grey” are the two I love that immediately come to mind. Oh and Paul Simon’s “Father and Daughter” is another beauty.” I feel a theme week coming on.

    With a 24 and a 19 year old, I can assure you there will still be many times Sophie is down the hall again. And, yes, your relationship will also evolve in wonderful ways.

    Still, that relentless time machine sure is powerful.

    Wishing Sophia the happiest of milestone birthdays!

  3. The Cool Guy (Daniel) says:

    Beautiful post and song! From my perspective too it’s felt like time travel growing up with Sophia. It seems like just yesterday that we were pretending to be mermaids in the pool (I think I was a merman in this game but who knows honestly) and now it’s crazy to think we’re both in college! You’ve perfectly articulated all the things that make Sophia so special so all that’s left to say is happy birthday to this baller young woman.

  4. Peg says:

    Your blog brought tears to my eyes. It is a wonderful tribute to this beautiful young woman who is 18 years old today! Happy Birthday Sophia! Love you xoxoxo

  5. Doug says:

    What could I say that would be better – or even better – than what’s been said by father Clay, uncle Dana, aunt Amy and cousin Daniel? So I’ll say “Ditto” Sophie, you’ve leaped all the hurdles on the way to womanhood with style and grace and I know you’ll do the same in the big leagues. Have a great day. Love grandpa.

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