(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and
out of the spotlight.)
I didn’t know it at the time. That’s exactly what I think every Mother’s Day now that my
mom is gone.
What I used to think on this special Sunday was, “I should thank her. Really thank her. And I need to
get her a card. I wonder if she’d want flowers. Maybe I’ll take her to brunch.” And I’d listen to all those typically sweet
songs of motherhood, like “The Best Day,” “Somebody’s
Hero,” “In My Daughter’s Eyes,” “Don’t
Forget to Remember Me,” “You’re Gonna Miss This”
and so on. But once your mom’s gone, Mother’s Days take on a very bittersweet patina.
One that, for me, is full of
little regrets. So the song that now soundtracks my second Sunday in May? Tim
McGraw‘s “I Didn’t Know It at the Time.” It was never released as a single, but it was love at first listen for me when
his Southern Voice album came out in 2009. To the average listener, this song is not about mothers. But when I hear
lines like, “Back when I had those fights with my old man, I never thought he’d be an old man” and “I never really thought
that I was lost until I heard my dying mother sing ‘Old Rugged Cross’” and “I didn’t know all those years ago how the years
would go flying by,” I think about all the things I never got around to saying to my mom that I wish I had. The things you
just know you’ll have time to say later. But just like the song says, I thought I knew it all. But I was wrong. I just didn’t
know it at the time.