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Nineties Song “Closing Time” Isn’t About the End of a Night Out


Readers, please join me as I take a break from my science advocacy writing and reminisce.

Four years ago around this time, I was large, uncomfortable, and more than ready to evict my first child from my fatigued body. Fast forward to the end of January, and with an audible “pop,” my water broke at 2:30 a.m. on my due date. Perched on the toilet in the uncertain dark, I yelled for my husband, “Jesse! I don’t think this is pee!” Not one of my finest moments. Little did I know, the day ahead would be filled with unsightly gems, progressively less cute than the one before.

After a few hours of failed attempts at sleeping, I devoured a bowl of chili, and headed with my husband to the hospital where my sister entered the world twenty years earlier. My daughter emerged after an arduous twelve hours of labor and an epidural that barely worked, with a double umbilical loop around her neck and a “true knot” in the cord. She looked angry, and primordially beautiful.

My sister was at college, so wasn’t able to visit us in the hospital. Nevertheless, she gave us a wonderful gift:  The next morning, I received an email with a link to a special performance by Dan Wilson of the band Semisonic.

If you’re around my and my husband’s age (we’re both 32), you’ll likely remember the song “Closing Time.” The song came out when I was a self-centered, doe-eyed teenager, so of course I didn’t glean its true meaning when it was released in 1998.

My husband and I clicked the YouTube link from my sister, with our tiny newborn daughter in the bassinet next to the hospital bed, and watched in amazement. By the end, my hormones and emotions got the best of me, and I was dabbing my eyes.

Dan Wilson explains, “I hid my junior song in plain view….” If you’re a biological parent, think back to having your first child as you watch this. If you’re short on time, start listening at 3:44.



If you didn’t know this before, you’re welcome. To this day, I still get choked up when I hear Closing Time on the radio.

Now stop getting sappy. I’m off to go prepare for a Frozen-themed 4th birthday party. I’ll leave you with a toast, to firstborn children, to my sister, to life. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.


Featured image © 2015 Kavin Senapathy

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  1. When I first read the title, I thought you were talking about the Leonard Cohen song. I am 46, so of course would be thinking more about the geezers!

    I always enjoy your writing, though, and this was great.

  2. It’s overall it’s a fantastic song for dealing with changes in our lives. Seven years ago it came to have important meaning to me as I made major changes in mine – leaving the only place I’d ever lived after 30 years there, an employer of 12 years, etc. And the journey ahead held even more that I couldn’t have imagined – not just the new place and job, but also needing to make a renewed push at a gender transition that was stalled since age 19.

    A lot of old beginnings had to end, and I am so much the better for it.

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