Thursday, February 20, 2014

All Joy and No Fun?

There is a new book on parenting called All Joy and No Fun.  This title has intrigued me but I don't think I will read the book. I hope the title is hyperbole.   I looked it up and found this short quote:

"Our experiencing selves tell researchers that we prefer doing the dishes — or napping, or shopping, or answering emails — to spending time with our kids," Senior writes. "But our remembering selves tell researchers that no one — and nothing — provides us with so much joy as our children. It may not be the happiness we live day to day, but it's the happiness we think about, the happiness we summon and remember, the stuff that makes up our life tales."

I know that sometimes I felt like an imposter when I was raising young children.  Often  there were things I would rather do than play a board game or read a story or kick a soccer ball in the back yard or go to a swim meet.  But in spite of ourselves, our children brought us much joy as we watched them grow into productive, happy, independent adults.  

And they still bring us much joy.  I have spent the last hour checking out a Charley Rose interview with Jeff Hammerbacher at Dan's suggestion.  It was a fascinating glimpse into a world of big data and its importance for accelerating science and health care delivery.  I would never have looked it up without Dan's interest and guidance.

I read Laura's blog daily and it often sends me into further investigation of a world of young professional parents besides giving me a glimpse into Laura's busy life.  (

Jeff cannot share his work with us.   The Institute for Defense Analysis is a world of its own which we were permitted to observe as visitors just once.  But a great joy for me this week as a grandmother was watching a video of young Michael playing Pachelbel's Canon on a grand piano at the Westminster Music School.  I wish we could have been there.   

We have been parents for almost 42 years.  February 27 is Jeff's birthday--which I always think of as the anniversary of my motherhood as well.   Once again, I'll end with my thankfulness--this time for the blessings of children and grandchildren.

1 comment:

  1. I caught part of an interview of the author on NPR when I was driving. I was repelled by the title. What was interesting was the neurological reserach she found showing very young children live in the present. It's difficult to get them moving toward dinner or piano practice or whatever because of that. I thought having some of the that insight might help parents. Sadly, I have taken my young grandson to The Children's Museum and other wonderful places, and have noticed almost all the parents checking email on their iphones. But I know too that I was seldom fully present with my kids; I was cooking or doing laundry or talking on the phone about League of Women Voter issues. My son still complains how hard it was to have a mom who was always saying, "Look, there's an indigo bunting at the feeder," or pulling over to see and snowy owl. I do know the best times were when I gave myself over to their world, even when I had a hand in creating it: Every Dec. I made hundreds of sugar cookies. Then one day we'd invite the neighbor kids over, cover the 6 ft table with plastic, and give the kids frosting and sprinkles. I became a better person because of my kids. I don't think I'll read the book either, but I think I will listen to the whole interview on NPR.