Do You Really Enjoy All of This?

My daughter hasn't lived in Massachusetts since she left for college. So it was a real treat when she came out to spend a weekend with us recently.

I think we wore her out.

After the events of just one day, admittedly the day of the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Holyoke, she looked at me and asked, "Do you really enjoy all of this? Or, do you just have to do it?"

I had two reactions.

First, I really DO enjoy all of this. But, I realized, sometimes, even though I am enjoying it all, I don't take the time to enjoy it, to savor it. And sometimes there just isn't time to do all of the things that I would enjoy.

Like, participating in the wildwater canoe races. I've never done it, I'd like to, I got invited this year, and couldn't do it due to previous commitments, to the Vietnam Veterans who were celebrating Vietnam Veterans Day and to the Westfield Children's Museum.

But I also get great opportunities. To go places, meet people, talk with people. Like the only living survivor of Admiral Byrd's first expedition to the north pole. He was the kid, about 17, in charge of the sled dogs!

And you work them in among the committee hearings, constituent calls, and legislative sessions in Boston. Among the office hours and phone calls in the district. Between visits from groups and organizations and lobbyists.

The weekend my daughter was here, we celebrated my birthday at dinner one night, a private function. But everything else was public. The St. Pat mass at St. Jerome's, Saturday night, followed by Sunday's breakfast, parade, broadcast, receptions hosted by Senator Knapik, Congressman Olver, Sheriff Ashe, and area firemen. Music and sandwiches at the Sons of Erin.

A Berkshire Power dinner the same weekend. A legislative breakfast sponsored by librarians. A bank dinner. Speeches, to the education sorority, professional secretaries, accountants, a men's club, and Rotary.

Awarding of a bronze star, 32 years after the fact. Joining the governor for a tour of the Holyoke Soldiers Home and a visit to Westfield Middle School. Dedicating equipment at Westfield Voke.

The Sparkplugs' Theater Party, conservation breakfast, the Zonta auction. Target shooting. The Eastern Star anniversary. The Central Labor Council Breakfast. Turnverein Snowflake Ball.

Hampden County medical society and dental society dinners, the Mayor's inaugural ball.

You get the idea.

And, I do enjoy them. All.

But I wonder if my daughter will come back again.

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