This Grandma Will Take “All Joy and All Fun” Any Day

Count al JoySince I read, “Under Pressure,” by Andrew Solomon, in the New York Times, February , 2, 2014, I cannot get the title of the book he reviewed, “All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood,” out of my head.

Yes, the book, by Jennifer Senior, is meant for parents.  Some of it is what we all know, that “raising children is terribly hard work, often thankless and mind-numbing, and yet the most rapturous experience available to adults.”

With some of it this Grandma did not know the psychological jargon:

Senior draws on the psychologist Daniel Kahneman’s distinction between the “experiencing self” that exists in the present moment and ‘the remembering self” that constructs a life”s narrative. . . .and nothing – provides us with so much joy as our children.

Wrong!  Nothing provides us with as much joy as our grandchildren.  Where parents have the everyday responsibility, we do not.  We can live in happiness day to day, where parents may not with the hard work of parenting.  Parents must gain joy from the happiness “we think about, the happiness we summon and remember, the stuff that makes up our life-tales.”  We grandparents get joy from both simultaneously.  We create memories and create a life story for our family.  We remember and want to be remembered.

The author talks “about parents’ pride in their children . . . .We bind ourselves to those who need us most, and through caring for them, grow to love them, grow to delight in them, grow to marvel at who they are.”

We grandparents marvel at the first moment of the birth of the grandchild, the first time we hold our grandchild.  Such a joyful and intimate family life passage event occurs so infrequently.  Having the experience of years teaches us that we should savor those moments in life.

Mr. Solomon, the book reviewer said that the book inspired him to think differently about his own experience as a parent:

Over and over again, I find myself bored by what I’m doing with my children: How many times can we read “Angelina Ballerinha,” or watch a “Bob the Builder,” vide?  And yet I remind myself that such intimate shared moments, snuggling close, provide the ultimate meaning of life.”

We Grandmas do not have to remind ourselves.  We know.

Reading the same picture book fourteen times in a row (yes, that is the most, though), gives this Grandma the opportunity to sit with the grandchild in my lap, hold the grandchild, snuggle close enough to smell the wonderful grandchild smell.

Yes, the book, “All Joy and No Fun,” by Jennifer Senior, is meant for parents.  We grandmas do not need a book to tell us the our grandparenting time of life is all fun and all





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