iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Pete Wilgoren

GET UPDATES FROM Pete Wilgoren
 

Dadmissions: Dear Prudence

Posted: 07/13/2012 2:39 pm

It happened again today. I was sitting there, minding my own business, when that song crept into my head and wouldn't get out. For the past several days, for reasons I still don't understand, the Beatles song "Dear Prudence" has started playing in my brain. Not just once or twice, but repeatedly. I can't shake it. I like the Beatles and I know many of their songs by heart, but this was never at the top of the list, and never a song I really absorbed the words to. Once you get past the lyrics "Dear Prudence," I could never before tell you what John Lennon sang. Why had this song started to nag me out of the blue, to haunt me, force me to hum its melody?

So I did what any good sleuth would do and I hit Google. I googled the lyrics to try and learn why I was being so drawn to this song. The song seems pleasant enough, just like I remembered:

Dear Prudence, won't you come out to play?
Dear Prudence, greet the brand new day
The sun is up, the sky is blue
It's beautiful and so are you
Dear Prudence, won't you come out to play?

Dear Prudence, open up your eyes
Dear Prudence, see the sunny skies
The wind is low the birds will sing
That you are part of everything
Dear Prudence, won't you open up your eyes?

OK, so now what? I knew the song wasn't about John's kids and I knew it wasn't a name I recognized. Why was this song getting shoehorned in my head?

So I did what any good sleuth would do next and I hit Wikipedia to learn more about the song. Maybe you already know the history. Prudence is the sister of Mia Farrow and she was with the Beatles when they went through their holy transformation in India in the 1960's. Prudence would meditate for hours and hours and became a near recluse with John saying, "She'd been locked in for three weeks and was trying to reach God quicker than anyone else." So John wrote this song hoping to reach Prudence, to bring her back, reminding her to "open up her eyes," reminding her she is "part of everything".

This is the part of the story where someone says, "And then it dawned on me..." But it hasn't quite dawned on me yet. Why was this song latching on to me?

So I did what any good sleuth would do next and I blogged about it, to drum up ideas and theories from people. Now that I've studied the lyrics I have a couple of ideas of my own. I guess for the purposes of this conversation, I'm Prudence. Maybe it's way more simple than I thought. Maybe I need to take off the blinders, slow down and enjoy life with my wife and girls some more. Maybe I'm so absorbed with work I need to come out and play and see the world.

Or maybe it's much more complex and I'm wrestling with the idea of god again, searching for an answer like Prudence was. It's something that has been an unanswered question for me my entire life. The girls know about god and science, creation and the big bang, and I want them to be able to believe what they choose. But it's a hard conversation to have with them when I'm not certain what I believe myself.

One thing is for certain: This woman I never met and this song I never really paid attention to have both given me a lot to think about. Perhaps Prudence herself has the answer. After the song was released in 1968, Prudence would go on to say she was "flattered" by the song and what Lennon had written, the simplicity of the lines about the beauty of the world around you. It's a funny thing about music. Songs can bring you right back to a time and place in your life; your prom, your wedding, your 6th grade crush who convinced you to buy Bon Jovi's "Slippery When Wet." Or in this case, songs can take you to a place you weren't even looking for. And that's what "Dear Prudence" did for me this week. I'm thinking about how much time I spend with the girls, and I'm grappling with some of the bigger questions in my life. And I'm ok with that.

 

Follow Pete Wilgoren on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@Dadmissions

FOLLOW PARENTS