I sit here in my uneasy chair, I can hear the screams and guffaws
of what sound like about 500 teenagers in my backyard swimming pool
for my middle daughter's high school graduation party, and I wonder
if a sufficient supply of chlorine shock treatments exists for that
water ever to recover. Even the dulcet tones of Taylor Swift blasting
throughout the neighborhood at thermonuclear decibels aren't enough
to drown out the reality that this will be no ordinary summer.
Yes, our happy-go-lucky middle daughter recently graduated from
high school, and we are extremely proud of her for gaining 13-years'
worth of knowledge and life skills, especially her mastery of the
self-checkout at Target and her expertise in breaking up with goobers.
Since she is the middle child, we wanted to make sure she felt loved
and appreciated at this special time in her life, so my wife and
I threw her a big graduation bash to make up for all the times we
kept her fed and occupied as a toddler by scattering a handful of
Cheerios on the floor and hoping for the best.
With the passing of fall, winter and early spring, our back yard
and pool looked like they had suffered a major incursion by the
Russians, so I spent two weeks of raking, scrubbing, hauling, digging,
planting, slipping disks and ignoring inflation at Lowe's and The
Home Depot to make the area relatively safe for teenaged-human occupancy.
After purchasing the yard improvements, pool chemicals, decorations,
and a taco bar large enough to satisfy a biblical plague of locusts,
we should still be able to afford sending our middle daughter to
college sometime before her 50th birthday.
And speaking of college, our eldest and most expensive daughter
came home from Texas A&M University for the summer and began her
first "real" jobother than working frantically to return her
bedroom to its original appearance as a giant clothing donation
drop box. At first, she seemed reluctant to apply for summer jobsuntil
I gave her the choice of either working outside the home or serving
as my personal assistant, pedicurist, toilet sanitizer, underwear
folder, minesweeper for dog bombs, and other duties as assigned.
I couldn't help but giggle inside a little at the end of her first
week of work when she told us how tired she was and that we were
all going to have to start going to bed at a decent hour.
Because we will have two daughters in college this fall (I couldn't
talk either of them into a plumbing career) and we now have to finance
a tank of gas, my wife and I decided to forgo our annual week-long
summer road trip to Orange Beach, Alabama, in order to save money.
But to keep our three daughters from forming a special House select
committee to investigate this atrocity, we are considering a shorter
jaunt to New Orleans to enjoy the food and historywith the
added bonus of reminding them why we go to Sunday school.
Yes, this summer will be different. Our little birds are getting
ready to fly, and we'll soon only have one left in the nest to complain
because we bought the Walmart Great Value worms instead of the name
When I'm alone and feeling pensive about these changes, I pause
to thank God for the wonderful years we've had with our girls and
the exciting, if different, years to come. Then I put in my vintage,
hand-me-down AirPods from one of my daughters, turn on some Taylor
Swift and snack on a handful of Cheerios for old times' sake.