Worchester, MA – The Henderson parents have had it.
“I never thought I’d say it, but it was easier when they were all in high school,” Richard, 49 year-old father and certified accountant, said.
His wife Tabatha agreed, and admitted to having had a migraine since late Friday, mere hours after son Jerry arrived at the airport from Florida and daughter Jenny was dropped off by friends from her first semester of college.
“They’ve both grown so much since leaving for school,” she said, “And in such opposite directions. They just can’t seem to get along with each other, anymore.”
“Or us,” Richard added, alluding to the concerned calls from the neighbors soon after the traditional Christmas Eve game of Old Maid crumbled into arguing over who, exactly, really deserved the title card.
Tension, if possible, managed to escalate on Christmas morning when presents began getting unwrapped and an undisclosed someone made the mistake of not scraping the price sticker off a gift.
“That’s when the shit really hit the fan,” Richard nodded.
“Chocolate, dear,” Tabatha corrected him, with a gentle pat on his knee and a heavy sigh. “Really good chocolate.”
The presence of other family members for most of the day seemed to dissipate the animosity, as everyone put on the “nice and loving family” act, but after dinner the company left and things returned to the new, hellish normal.
“I begged Aunt Judy and Mike not to leave,” Tabatha admitted.
Now the two parents are counting down the hours before their dear and dreaded children go back to school for spring semester. Their travel bags have been filled and left in conspicuously well-traveled areas of the house, as a constant reminder that the time is ticking down. Both parents have even memorized return itineraries, going so far as to alter Jenny’s to get her back as soon as the dorms open again.
“Just last month, we were saying we weren’t going to pay to send them away for spring break,” Richard stated, “We changed that, last night.”