Terry's Girl
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LIVES: Growing Up Again by Terry Marks

Written by in Profiles

Kissing concrete doggies and other inspirations.

Editor’s Note: We asked Terry Marks to tell us what having a child has done to a forty-something designer’s worldview. Do you have a life note to share with Against the Grain? Email matt@porterwrite.com your wonderful thoughts.


I’ve long understood that children are to adults as kryptonite is to Superman. Being Dad to a 19-month old, I now have the first-hand proof thereof. Not surprisingly, there’s an upside, too.

Life is vastly different being a parent. I make time for the untidy and simple things. Weekends and even evenings, for the most part are sacrosanct. They are for home and family. In spite of teething and night time feedings, I rest more regularly. I find solace away from the churn of endeavor. This is a gift of being in a relationship and also wanting to be present as this little person becomes suddenly not so little.

This new place has honed my focus. Becoming more intentional requires trimming the fat (off the business, not necessarily me) and that begins to feel all a bit serious. Spending time with a little person who likes to dance to cell phone rings, uses any flat surface as a piano, and plastic cups for trumpets demands that one plays.

Reading books, chasing one another through the house, imitating animals, tossing stones into the Puget Sound… it’s food for the soul. And it reminds me how we function. Humor is a tool to garner attention and to teach. Silliness is good. Most importantly, we are more ourselves when joy is our default state.

It could be said that it’s keeping me from being jaded. The dour regard that so many assume in an economy like ours doesn’t hold up to a few moments of real joy — even if it’s momentary oasis. We know that people remember things better because of humor. That buying decisions are largely emotional – even if justified intellectually.

In short, being a Dad to this little girl is making me more myself

  1. 10

    Very good article. Maybe because I’m a parent and can relate to much of what Terry had to say. I borrowed the quote: “We are more ourselves when joy is our default state”. Loved that thought!