When do we ever stop hurting when our children are hurting? I once told a friend that my very best moments and my very worst moments revolved around my children. That is still true. My two are grown, and Beth has three of her own, but when she is traveling or out alone late at night, I worry. Luckily, being a mother has made her sympathetic to my anxieties. She always texts me when she reaches her destination and when she ultimately gets home.
Michael's profession (Psychologist) means that he spends his days helping other people through their issues, and yet he can not erase my unhappiness when I think that he is unhappy. In 2011, a study led by Karen Fingerman of the University of Austin found that a parent is indeed only as happy as her/his least happy child. The logical part of my brain knows that since my children are basically happy, healthy and well adjusted people, even when miserable they will soon be happy again. Yep...I do understand that, but it doesn't matter. I am wired to feel their pain!
Luckily, I am also wired to luxuriate in their joy. I even reap the benefits of grandchildren joy. Sarah was just inducted into the honor society, Zach has the lead in his school's production of "Music Man", and seven year old Olivia is about to be presented with her umpteenth belt in Tae Kwon Do. To quote my own grandmother, Rose, I spend much of my time "kvelling" over their achievements, so I can accept the occasional lapse in their judgments. Yep, I can let Beth deal with those miseries. Unfortunately, those mommy miseries make her unhappy...and so...guess who is once again as happy as her least happy child!
When authors want to really pull at our emotions in a book, they harm the children. Author, Anthony Franze definitely plays havoc with every parent's emotions in his novel, The Advocate's Daughter. Attorney Sean Serrat is being considered for a seat on the Supreme Court when his daughter disappears. She is subsequently found murdered, and her boyfriend is the prime suspect. Serrat takes us through the family's heartache, a past Sean keeps hidden, and the process of selecting a Supreme Court justice, all with the aplomb of an experienced story teller. The character's emotions were strongly represented in this interesting tale of a family in flux.
Luckily, Ruth Harris gave us a very funny view of family life in her book, Husband Training School. Come on ladies, wouldn't it be convenient to be able to send your hubbies to a boot camp for husbands whose habits drive you a little crazy. The story, though quite silly, is something men and women can easily relate to, and Harris kept it short enough to keep us from becoming bored.
Both of these books were winners this week.
As always, complete reviews of these books follow this blog.