When we recently named our baby boy “Jude,” I swore to myself I wouldn’t be singing the Beatles’ top-selling single to him around the clock. It just seemed, I don’t know, cliché? Besides, I don’t even like the song that much, or at least not the screamy second half of it: JUDY JUDY JUDY JUDY JUDY JUDY!
But as you might have guessed, it’s absolutely impossible to walk into a baby named Jude’s nursery, peer over the side of his bassinet, see his smiling face and kicking legs, and not burst out singing: Hey, Juuuuude!
It feels equally impossible, when he’s crying—as babies are wont to do—not to jump to the bridge: Any time you feel the pain. . . .
And you can bet your bottom dollar that throughout his childhood I won’t be resisting the song’s third-to-last line, where it advises Jude to listen to his mama!
My sister remarked recently, “I wonder what percentage of your life you’ll spend humming that song as compared to the average person.” Suffice it to say, I don’t doubt the discrepancy will be vast.
Naming my baby Jude and not breaking out in song at least six times a day: an impossible cause if I’ve ever heard of one. This is somewhat fitting, considering that St. Jude—whose Feast Day is today—is the patron saint of impossible causes.
I don’t actually care how much I sing “Hey Jude”—but there are plenty of other impossible causes that do matter to me as a parent. Here are a few of my petitions:
That I consistently change poopy diapers with just one wipe.
Two, three, or four wipes aren’t going to break the bank, but I would like to feel as if I’m mastering one area of my life. I need some easy wins and the quick dopamine hit that accompanies them. St. Jude, humor me: give me the skills to achieve a spotless bum with the agile wipe and fold of a single towelette.
That I rise above the power struggles.
I theoretically care more about having a good relationship with my three-year-old than I do about her bow matching her dress, and yet it comes to pass from time to time—okay, let’s be real: too many times, all the time, in fact—that one or both of us are still crying and/or yelling over her outfit choice five minutes after we should have left the house. St. Jude, help me to care less about getting my way. Remind me all my authority as a parent doesn’t rest on this particular moment. Give me insight into what matters and what doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of parenting.
That french toast sticks still find a place on the school lunch menu.
Here’s the thing about french toast sticks: they’re delicious, but they’re also overpriced, and I’m cheap, so I won’t be buying them at the grocery store. If I did, my kids would never stop asking me to purchase them again, and, well, I’m not a masochist; I avoid putting myself in the position of having to say no more than I already do. But I also don’t want to deny my children the joy and comfort of this particularly delightful culinary treat. Breakfast for lunch on the cafeteria’s menu is the answer, and I just hope that recent (well-intentioned, science-backed) attempts to boost the nutritional value of school lunches don’t sabotage my plan.
That my children remain blissfully unaware of the existence of Tamagotchis.
I recently learned that this toy fad of my childhood continues to capture the minds and hearts of children, decades later. St. Jude, may my husband and I be saved from the duties of babysitting our children’s digital pets.
That something is done about daylight savings time.
I hear that daylight savings time has positive impacts on the tourism industry, that it assists farmers, and that it mitigates safety concerns for children catching the school bus in the early morning hours. Then again, I also hear that keeping standard time permanent could decrease energy use and improve the sleep hygiene of the collective population. I’m not pretending to be an expert on the pros and cons of changing the clock, and I’m not even suggesting that we ditch the practice. I just don’t want my children waking up at 4:30 a.m. throughout November and December. St. Jude, could you please just do what you need to do to deal with this?
That my children develop even just a modicum of athletic ability.
I’m not asking for teen fame, athletic scholarships, or even high-school popularity. But having been chosen last for every gym-class kickball game throughout my vulnerable adolescent years, I’d love to spare my future teenagers that indignity.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux is said to have asked “Quid hoc ad aeternitatem?’’—“What is this in eternity?’’—and believe me, I’m abundantly aware that the number of wipes I use and the plentitude of french toast sticks are nothing in eternity. But while there are bigger problems out there, and it’s only a matter of time before I turn to St. Jude with some of them, these are the somewhat annoying, somewhat humorous issues that fill my ordinary days.
St. Jude, unlike those of us still earthside, is not limited in his capacity to intercede for us. Since it’s not causing any harm, there’s no reason for me not to ask for St. Jude’s help. And so here I go, singing again: Hey, St. Jude! Take my impossible causes, and make them better!
Image: Pexels/Karolina Grabowska