Last summer they went out to the garden together. Just the two of them. They found a warm patch of black earth and began digging. It would be a home for the bare gnarly sapling in her tiny hands.
“Can this be my tree, Daddy?”
He didn’t know why he hadn’t thought of it before. “Of course it can be your tree.”
Every weekend she put on her little gardening gloves and set to work. She filled up her watering cans, pulled out the weeds, and imagined what her tree would be.
Sometimes over breakfast she’d remark “I think the birds are on my tree today. Silly birds.” Or “Can you see my tree, Mum? I think it may have grown taller today”.
The months passed. Painfully slow. “But why is it taking so long?” she asked with all the impatience of a 3 year old.
All the while she was asking the same question about her birthday. And the countdown began. 3 months, 2 months, 4 weeks, 5 days. “But why is it taking so long?”
The morning of her birthday burst through with squeals and dancing. She was finally four years old. After presents were opened, her father told her he’d noticed something in the garden the night before. “Let’s go check on your tree”.
She ran back inside, her cheeks a pinky hue. “Mum! My tree has blossomed!”
A week later we were sitting at the breakfast table and she looked out to her beautiful blossoming birthday tree. “Mum, is it a blossom tree?”
I explained it was actually a plum tree. Her eyes sparkled and her mouth began to gape. “A plum! I love plums! Can it be an orange and apple tree as well?”
We chatted a bit more. Then I paused. I was curious. “Why do you like this tree so much, darling?”
“Oh Mum, can we not talk about the tree. Let’s talk about the sandpit we can build next to the tree”.
“But seriously, can you tell me why you like it. What is the reason?”
“Well I think you know the reason, Mum.”
“Mum, you’ll know soon enough.”
I thought about a bit more. Still nothing.
A few minutes later. “But can’t you just tell me the reason?”
“Because I love it. That’s all. I just LOVE it.”