My daughter came back

MY daughter came back.

Can they do that?

Aren’t they supposed to go off and find themselves? Become their own person?

Visit occasionally. With gifts.

I thought we’d seen the last of her until I was 80, when I’d go to live with her so she could wheel me to the lavatory.

And she’s brought the dog.

And the chickens, Nine chickens.

And a goldfish.

I don’t know if chickens eat goldfish but I’m going to find out.

I’m fairly confident dogs eat chickens. I just have to make it look like an accident. The bonus will be that if the dog eats the chickens she’ll probably want to get rid of the dog.

I shouldn’t be feeling this. I should be glad. At least she didn’t bring the boyfriend with her. The ex-boyfriend. A real no-hoper for whom jail is, shall we say, more than just a word in a dictionary.

They say he’s like me. The idea is absurd, of course, and very offensive. The only person who could say it and get away with it is my daughter. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with a daughter being attracted towards someone like her father.

But when I told her what the rest of the family said she snorted: “Don’t be ridiculous!”

But I am being excessively cynical. You gain a whole lot of things when your kids return to the family fold. I mean besides the pets.

You gain a larger telephone bill. And the consumption of toiler paper rockets. I don’t know what kids do with it, but it’s more than just… you know…

They must use it to mop up all the extra water they’re using in the shower.

But not everything is a dead weight on the shoulders of the parents. Some things become less of a burden.

The car, for one. I don’t see it as often any more. And when I do it’s full of dog. Or dog hairs.

And the sharp edge on my razor. My razor is permanently blunt and permanently full of hairs that look to me like hairs off someone’s legs.

Handkerchiefs, for another. I thought I was safe. I thought daughters borrowed their mother’s skirts and stuff. And I thought women used cute little hankies with their initials embroidered in the corner.

My daughter says they’re too pretty to clean the windshield with.

And your peace of mind takes a dive.

She’s been away from home for five years, and she seems to have managed. She probably did some dumb things (see ‘boyfriend’ above), but she worked it out and survived. On her own!

Now I’m pacing the hall at 10pm. This is when she’s about to go out for the evening.

“But you need your sleep,” I say.

“Yes dad. I’ll sleep on the way home in the car.”

“But who’ll be driving?”


“Very funny. Have you got enough money?”

“Yes — no!”

“Too late. Do you want us to save you some supper?”

“Mmmm…. What is it?”