Careful Consideration

Oh, man, these girls are good.

The other day I came home and both J and M were hunched at a computer screen. Turns out that J was applying for a special STEM field trip for 7th grade girls. This was funny because a few years back, M went on this field trip, but she didn’t have to apply. She was basically just invited to go. They took a huge swath of the female 7th grade population just based on, I think, teacher recommendations. I have no idea.  And I presume that either that year or in subsequent years there were girls who would have liked to have gone and weren’t invited, so now it’s an application. Which is way better, I think. More fair, and they’re more likely to actually value the experience.

But J being J, she took the process very seriously. She filled out the online form with earnest pledges about her love of science and her impeccable behavior articulated in the most formal language she could muster. Then she asked her big sister to proofread for her. Then M reviewed it, reassured her that, after all, it was a large group and she was a shoo-in, and urged her to hit “submit.” J asked me to read it over, too, then took one last look before launching it. This reminded me of chatting with another mom about college applications. More specifically, how the mom had filled out all of her daughters’ college applications herself. The mom did. For her daughter. So I was feeling pretty good about J.

Also, it is just one of my favorite things when the girls are working on some sort of project together, like when they help each other with homework or discuss art or the relative merits of different outfits for a special occasion. This happened over last weekend, too.

As I mentioned, we went to pick out and cut down a Christmas tree on Saturday. Over the years, this has been one of those activities that I’ve been more happy about having done than I have been while actually doing it. It can be pretty cold. There’s labor involved: the walking, the sawing, the carrying. For a couple years there it felt like we couldn’t choose a tree without losing at least one piece of outerwear, which meant more walking around, trying to find that errant mitten, especially since they’d often be pretty new for the season.

This year started off with a bit of a challenge. The girls have strong opinions about their tree choice, and you can pretty much guarantee that if Cute W or I find a tree that we think is Worthy, the girls will dismiss it as Unacceptable. Just like having a parent sing along to a pop song on the radio will automatically make it uncool. So the two of us would say, “How about this?” and one of the girls would say something like, “Hmmm” or “Are you kidding?”  and then rush to catch up with the sister. Which was annoying, but also, I just like to watch them walking and talking together.


We were having more trouble than usual, though, because this year the girls kept choosing enormous trees. We have a small house. There are really tangible limitations to our ability to house a tree, like, you know, the ceiling and walls and doors. Cute W speculated that part of the problem was the girls’ recent growth spurts. Back when they were little girls, all the trees looked plenty tall and wide to them. Not so anymore. This year, the girls would run ahead and pick the “perfect” tree, only to have Cute W and me catch up to them and veto it.

And then we lucked out. J discovered an abandoned, orphan tree. Someone had cut it down and left it lying in the field. Apparently they found something better–I don’t know. But when we stood it up, it looked pretty good to us.

J was attached immediately. It reminded her of one of our storybooks, A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree, and she was not going to leave that poor lonely tree behind. Luckily, M agreed. And guess what? It turned out to be a lovely tree that fit into our little house just fine.



  1. Claire

    I started enjoying the process much more when my son reached the age where my husband felt comfortable taking him to cut down the tree without me. For the past several years, they go and come back to surprise mom with the tree, while I stay home in the nice warm house and get a head start on setting up the other decorations.

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