A Girl’s Ambition… in a Boy’s Pants
Our kids are preparing to work a volunteer job at a Washington advocacy firm. Excitement levels are running high, not knowing whether they might be trusted with an actual task of significance, or if they might only file, make coffee and answer the phone.
No, I take that back. Our Russian children may not be the best candidates for phones, fast-talkers and important messages.
But for now, our youngest had bigger issues: she needed some office slacks, although one could easily argue that she had every pair of pants, skirts and dresses on the face of the earth. A milestone was approaching, and she wanted to be ready.
I thought it best to send her with her father to a store. She was quite small for her age, she didn’t enjoy shopping, and finding something appropriate, rather than just anything she wanted, was going to be challenging. Let’s just say I didn’t relish the thought of being there.
So, just after spending an hour with her in French class, I bid her “Adieu” and hope for the best. Sashenka heads out with her sister and father. Looking through petite ladies’ sizes, they give up after combing through dozens of styles from jean-like to wide leg to skin-tight. Nothing seemed appropriate or the right length. He didn’t realize that I generally hemmed everything for her.
Benedetto took Sashenka to the girls’ department. They had to be careful with high-waist, or low-rider styles, but finally, she found a pair to her liking. The black pants really fit her well.
She was so proud and had to show me later at home.
“What size are they, sweetie?” I asked.
She had no idea, flipping them over: “Size 12.”
“Is that a girls’ size?” I asked, knowing she could not wear anything over a size 4 or so in ladies’ sizes.
“It’s a boy’s size 12,” I informed them.
Blink. Blink. The two of them stared at me blankly.
“There was a stack of these in the girls’ department-!” Benedetto protested.
“I really like them,” Sashenka adds. “They’re not leggings and they look businesslike.”
“Great, no problem, whatever works,” I agree.
We gather for dinner and all she can talk about is how she is going to become “the boss” of the office.
“Do you even know who ‘the boss’ is?” I question her.
I guess this was one time that they actually followed my instructions and researched the organization…. All of them were psyched, happy, excited about the possibilities of being in AN OFFICE in our nation’s capital.
You would think we lived on a farm, rather than another part of the same city. I let them soar and I tease about which one should serve the other coffee, especially since, other than the eldest, none of them drink coffee. I lay down ground rules, such as, if they ask you to go to another part of town on the metro… just say no.
Or take along a metro map and plenty of change.
After dinner, Sashenka tries on the pants and excitedly shows them to me. So unlike her. This job is doing more than just helping a non-profit reaching out to persecuted people. It’s transforming our youngish 16-year-old.
I ooh and aah and let her know how sharp she appears.
It’s nothing fancy at all, but again I murmur, “Very nice.”
As she exits in her black jacket and black pants, Sashenka is fairly skipping. I think about how much these volunteer positions mean to all of them, but especially our youngest.
“Though she be but little, she is fierce!” Thank you, William Shakespeare.
Thank you, Lord, for helping our kids to grow and expand and find themselves even in things so small as a new pair of pants that I did not need to orchestrate and organize from start to finish.
————-Tags: appropriate business attire, college students volunteering, kids helping at an office, teen daughter grows up, teen daughter shopping for pants, teen mentorship, teens volunteering at office, what volunteering can do for a teen