Saturday, September 21, 2013
Two trees stand in our backyard. Soon, there will be a third. They are very different, but equally important in my life.
The first tree, the one on the right, is a mesquite tree that--to me--represents my losses, and is home to what remained of my third loss. We didn't plant it there--much like we didn't ask to experience loss. It just started growing shortly after we moved into our house. Like many natural desert plants, it's covered in spikes and it's trunk is gnarled. I was once like that mesquite tree--as I experience loss after loss after loss, I had my own spikes. I wasn't a happy person. I was bitter and gnarled. And yet the tree grew; and I somehow grew too. I found that it grew best when I trimmed it back. I still marvel at how the tree seems to jump skyward whenever I cut away the dead weight from the overburdened branches. Like the tree, my burdens have also been lifted as the Gardener urged me to grow despite being in my infertile desert. This spiky, gnarled, unplanned tree stands above our outdoor living space, shading our (artificial) lawn and providing a little relief from the hot sun in the evenings. My daughter now plays in the shade offered by that tree, oblivious of the significance and memories that the tree brings to me.
The second tree, the one on the left, is a Desert Museum Palo Verde, planted days after Ella was born. The tree is a perfect desert hybrid--strong enough to withstand the extreme elements all year long, but with flowers instead of spikes. It's a beautiful shade of green (palo verde meaning "green stick") with pretty little flowers in the spring and monsoon season. It's been nurtured and cared for (due partly to an automatic watering system), just like we have nurtured and cared for Ella. Like the mesquite, it too grows best when it's pruned. I gave it a good trimming yesterday--it's branches were getting so low that Ella was having a hard time riding her bike under it. It's so thick now that when Ella played in the monsoon rain last week, she found shelter under leaves and branches of her tree. The "Ella Tree" couldn't be any more different than the first tree.
Soon, there will be a third tree--the "Anna Tree"--on the opposite side of the patio, to the right of the first tree. I'll say that we're late in planting it because we were waiting for my husband's parents to come down (they bought Ella's tree)--and that's partially true--but I should also be honest and own up to the fact that things just get done a little slower the second time around. But I look forward to having my third tree for my second living child planted soon. It will be planted where I'll be able to see it as I finish my runs, and it will be a happy reminder of all my runs during my pregnancy with Anna.
Three different trees for three very different parts of my life, and yet all remarkably significant in their own way. Time will tell if we have room for a fourth tree.
Today's blessing was watching Ella enjoy an open gymnastics class at a local gym. My very-dear friend was a collegiate gymnast, and Ella has recently been fascinated by watching YouTube videos of her. Since today is National Gymnastics Day, we took advantage of a free open gym to see if how she did--and she absolutely loved it! I don't know if we're really ready to commit to signing her up, but at least for today, I loved seeing her confidence in her abilities to try new things and take direction from the instructors.