As 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” job – other 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 jobs – until 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 history – with 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 brand.
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.
Copyright 2022 Jase Graves distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal, and The Kilgore News Herald. Contact Graves at [email protected].