recent days, the hormonal distribution in my household has become
slightly more balanced as two of my three teenage daughters and several
lines of credit are now off attending college. This means that when
I'm at home, I only receive the contemptuous side-eye from my wife,
my youngest daughter, two female dogs and a female cat anytime I produce
even the most innocent of bodily noises.
Yes, my happy-go-lucky middle daughter has left the nestwith
a trail of glitter, jewelry beads and other expensive craft supplies
in her wake. Things around here will be a lot quieter without her,
and probably a heck of a lot less fun.
I've often said that my middle daughter is the marshmallow center
of the sibling Moon Pie, and we'll definitely miss her infectious
silliness, which has occasionally involved wearing a pair of underwear
or one of our pets as a hat.
Now that she's gone to college, I'll be missing the daughter I can't
sit beside (or even look at) during church services, weddings, nice
dinners or any other polite company without risking an eruption of
giggle snorts or beverages spewing out of our nostrils.
This is the daughter who once aspired to be a professional shopper,
and when we asked for whom she planned to shop, she exclaimed that
she would be shopping for herselfof course. Over the years,
she has become an expert in this line of work.
This is also the daughter whose insides, by now, have probably mutated
into a viscous mass of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. In fact, whenever
we ran out of the candy, she could be found at any given hour of the
day or night lurking in our kitchen pantry-committing culinary atrocities
against a large jar of creamy Jif and a jumbo bag of Nestle Tollhouse
Milk Chocolate Morsels.
This is the daughter who, over the years, has attempted to transform
our home into an unlicensed exotic petting zoo. Incidentally, by housing
numerous hedgehogs, fancy mice, hermit crabs, hamsters, dogs and cats,
I've developed well-honed skills in the field of droppings-management.
(If I could only find some way to turn it into a side gig.)
When she wasn't trying to convince me to blow a couple of C-notes
on another pet whose poop I would get to scoop, this is the daughter
who had a habit of going to the ophthalmologist to have a variety
of foreign objects plucked out of her eyeballs. I don't think she
ever got a hedgehog lodged in there, but I'm sure she considered it.
And speaking of pet droppings, since puberty hit and ruined everything,
this is the daughter who has taken every possible opportunity to invite
various hairy-legged species of teenage boys (usually in desperate
need of a haircut) for awkward meetings with me so that I could evaluate
them and offer to show them my collection of Bibles and body bags.
Fortunately, when she left for college, she managed to avoid packing
a take-along boyfriend in her laundry hamperI think.
I desperately love all three of my daughters. They are all delightfully
different, and I've learned to annoy each of them according to their
own unique personalities.
With my eldest and most expensive daughter entering her sophomore
year of spending my life savings, and my middle daughter spreading
her sunshine as a college freshman, my youngest teenage daughter will
now be our honorary "only child." And although she tends to be stoic
and quiet, she does have a silly streak, so we'll do our best to commemorate
her middle sister from time to time by spewing beverages out of our
nostrils and wearing our underwear as a hat.