The Loh Life

Breaking sad, part 4: ruminations of a tubby groundhog parent

Sandra Tsing Loh ponders not sending her daughter to college.

Okay.  So we parental units of school-aged children have done all we can.  The LAUSD magnet applications went out November 15th!  The University of California applications went out November 30th!  There's nothing left to do but settle in for the long, dark, carb-filled winter of anxious waiting.  In spring, the groundhog will pop out of its hole and begin scurrying around chasing the customary 11th hour Plan B's-open enrollment, waiting lists, school lotteries, awesome community college classes-!

Or perhaps there's another way, I thought recently.  My eighth grade daughter, Maddy, was wrestling - and I was trying to help her - with the supposed bugaboo of algebra: word problems.  Example: "Makiko" - the subjects are multicultural now, which is nice.  Anyway, "Makiko caught twice as many rockfish as she has bluefish, which together weigh 78 pounds resulting in an excess 59 foot-pounds of force needed to push Makiko's fuel-driven propeller boat across a river current moving at 8.1 miles per hour."

And although, what with the propeller boat, this tale was exciting in its own slightly antiquated way, it made me think - for just a minute -"Why don't we just give up on the whole college thing?"

Never mind the fact that it will save thousands on SAT tutors, college tuition, and even on her twenty-something rent in a faraway city.  Deeper point is: I'm not sure I can spare my daughter.  Never mind her ripped jeggings and Goth mascara, in my middle-aged dotage, I rely increasingly on her capabilities, skill, and frankly, her good cheer.  When I'm driving on LA's freeways, I use her as my coffee holder and snack purveyor, my reading glasses, and my I-Phone navigator.  When at home, she does web research for me, deftly Photo-shops, and can download YouTube videos and burn them onto a DVD with her MacBook using garage band and a mysterious converter I can't even name.  "Thanks, honey!" I say.  "Hashtag you are amazing!"

She is a totally marketable, crack youthful assistant whom I occasionally throw a 20 dollar bill at. . . Which she will roll into funding another Apple product that she can use to help her mother--  No, actually, her Godmother as I embrace the Mafia practice of just. . . folding her into the family business.  So can she live with her mother until the age of 40?  As I get progressively smaller and more helpless T-Rex arms?  What a horrible fate for a young person!  Mwah!

It was at this point that my friend, Gwen, gave me a powerful and crucial made-for-December suggestion.  To lighten at least THIS hibernating groundhog's mood.

Next week: Fun holiday movie, and dinner at four!


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