By People Staff
March 11, 2009 12:00 PM

During a brainstorming session last year, singer-songwriter Darius Rucker, 42, found himself swapping stories about fussy newborns and fearless toddlers with cowriters Ashley Gorley and Chris DuBois. “We were talking about how fast our families were growing up, and then one of us said, ‘It won’t be like this for long,’ ” recalls the father of daughters Cary, 13, Dani, 7, and son Jack, 4. “We were like, ‘That’s a great title. Let’s write that song.’ ”

The tune born that day is, he says, an “absolutely bittersweet” lullaby that spotlights some gone-too-soon moments in parenting. “I remember getting off the road and being so tired, and my daughter was so young and not sleeping,” says Rucker, who married wife Beth in 2000. “It’s awful, and then, when it’s not like that, you miss those times.”

Now the singer tries to embrace even the temper-tantrum moments. And being there for his family has brought immense joy. “There were so many things I missed over the years,” says Rucker, recalling how, just one month after the birth of his oldest, he left on a European tour with Hootie & the Blowfish. “Now, I don’t want to miss as much. It’s a lesson learned,” he says. “I can be a musician and be with my family more.”