The Trade-Off

(During bedtime scratch back ritual after Charlie’s return from his Cape May trip with the grandparents and cousins)

Charlie: For the record, I only missed you a little bit.

Cassie: Yea? You missed me?

Charlie: Yes.

Cassie: When?

Charlie: At back-scratch time.

Cassie: Ahhh. Before bed.

Charlie: Yes. What I didn’t miss was your constant nagging about safety and sunblock and I can’t have three glasses of lemonade before bed because I get too hyped.

Cassie: You didn’t have lemonade before bed—

Charlie: No! I didn’t do that again. I got the message the first time! Thanks to you, Grandma wouldn’t let me have lemonade after that. Sheesh!

Cassie: Good.

Charlie: No more talking. It’s ruining the back scratch.

Cassie: Okay.

Charlie: It’s such a trade-off….put up with the nagging to get the back scratch.

Cassie: I know it.

Charlie: How old was Max when he stopped having his back scratched?

Cassie: Eighth grade, I think.

Charlie: Then it wasn’t worth it anymore for him….the nagging mothering stuff for the back scratch?

Cassie: I guess. Pffft.

Charlie: Good. I have a few more years left before I won’t be able to take it anymore.

Cassie: (sighing) Oh brother…

Charlie: Shhh. Please keep scratching. I love you, Mom.

Cassie: Love you too.

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