Episode 920: WorkDinner had been good. Tansy made salad, her dad barbecued juicy hamburgers and her mom heated frozen onion rings in the oven. They polished off all that and started in on dessert, chocolate ice cream with chocolate sprinkles.
Everybody busily enjoyed their dessert, their dinner quieted except for Hero repeatedly saying, “mmm,” as he ate. “Mmm.”
Tansy decided it was as good a time as any to break her news. “I’m getting an afterschool job.”
Hero clapped for her news, he clapped for any and everything these days, lucky for him he was too adorable for it to be annoying.
“Thanks, H,” Tansy said. “I’m really excited about it.”
Her mom and dad exchanged looks.
“You don’t need a job, Tans,” her mom said. “If you heard your dad and I talking about the garage the other day, it’s nothing to worry over.”
“It’s just a slow period,” her dad agreed. “With summer coming, road trips, stuff like that, business always picks up. There’s no panic over money, I promise, we’ve got you.”
Mom nodded. “This isn’t necessary. You don’t need to get a job and give up on volunteering. We know how important this is to you.”
“Plenty of your adult life will be spent working,” her dad said. “You don’t need to make money right now, you have an allowance.”
“As good as it is to have ambitions,” her mom said, “it’s a fine line. I worked from a young age and put a ton of career pressure on myself. I think taking on too much too young is part of the reason I sometimes struggle with anxiety and why I struggle to relax even when I have time off, it probably is a big factor in why I always think I should be doing and achieving, when really, it’s okay to have fun sometimes.”
“If there’s a problem, we’ll tell you,” her dad said. “For now, this is the time for you to do what you want to do.”
“This is what I want to do,” Tansy replied. “I’ll still work at the homeless shelter, it’s just the days I’m not there, I want to work with grandpa.”
“You mean like helping him with your yard work?” Her dad asked. “That and crosswords are just about all he does now that he’s retired, honey. I don’t think he really needs help with anything, nothing big enough that a person should get paid for it. I’m not sure you’ve really thought this through.”
“Maybe she has,” her mom said. “Maybe she thought if she was helping her grandpa, we’d forget that she’s avoiding the place she really wants to be.”
“The animal shelter,” her dad said.
“I’m not avoiding it,” Tansy insisted. “I just don’t want to be there anymore, I want to work with my grandpa.”
“But he doesn’t have any work for himself to do, let alone for you,” her dad said.
“Not that grandpa,” Tansy said, as casual as can be. “I do have another grandpa. I want to work for him, it’ll be different, an experience.”
“There is no way that is happening,” her mom said.