Category / Math

Dad uses one shampoo, daughters many.

1. NARROWER PRODUCT SET. To wash my hair every morning, all I need is one brand of shampoo. But the shower rack my daughters use is stocked with one that promises “radiant color,” another that delivers “nutritive solutions,” and yet another that produces “luscious volume.” And that’s just the shampoos. Right alongside them are an equal variety of conditioners that provide “hair therapy,” “daily moisture,” and “multi-task repairs.” The females in my house clearly don’t use all of them at once, but I don’t know how they choose which ones to one apply on any given day. Maybe they like being able to go wherever their moods take them on a particular morning, or perhaps they have a defined system for cycling through all those options over the course of a week. All I know is that I’d be overwhelmed by that many choices. But perhaps I should be more open-minded and stock my medicine cabinet with a variety of shaving creams and gels that so I could have the option for “sensitive skin treatment” on one day,” “soothing aloe” on the next, and on the day after that, “extra moisturizing.” Sounds like a whole world of possibility opening up, followed immediately by the “whoosh” of a door shutting. Why? Because I know that is never going to happen.

Daughter's independent birthday celebration.

1. UNNEEDED PRESENCE. It could not be possible that I spent only five minutes with my eldest on her 17th birthday. My sole responsibility on this big occasion was to drive her to a hotel where she spent the night celebrating with her friends. It made me long for the days when I had to contend with 25 screaming girls at a roller-skating rink or Build-A-Bear store. Did I really feel that I had to “endure” those 90-minute squealfests? Did I not see this day coming?