Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My daughter: pro-lifer?

Ours is a strongly left-leaning household. My dad, the leftist economist, used to excuse himself to the bathroom during Reagan's speeches. I knew from a young age the distinction between being pro-choice and pro-abortion. And yet, I am flummoxed with how to address Emily's latest proclamation of belief: the young maple seedlings in our yard should, she says, all be allowed a chance to live.

Maple seedlings are not the usual weed. Yes, they come up all over the yard, in countless numbers, and no, I didn't plant them. I don't want them all. Maple trees, of course, are wonderful, valuable shade trees, and we host two adult maples next to our back deck, which keep the house cool and provide shelter for birds. I'd be happy for a few more to grow to maturity in our yard.

And yet, it never occurs to me to start trees from seed, much less to select our yard trees among the host of volunteers. These pictured, growing in the compacted soil under Emily's rope swing, are our compromise for the moment, as I just mowed around them last night, at Emily's request. Will they grow up strong, to replace the black cherry which currently bears the rope swing? I don't know. Nor do I know if the politics of maple survival is simply an offspring of Emily's current sensitivity to death, because of the chickens, or if I am facing a long-term relationship with a daughter whose voting politics may make me flinch.

All I know this morning is this: Emily often states her strong support for Obama, with her mom, and we have compromised together to let a few maple seedlings live in the yard, in inconvenient places.

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