This tree has a story. It’s a story about family – and about passion, generosity, having fun and good friends.
It’s not long or complicated – but it’s woven into the story of our lives since 2005. My parents gave us this tree, a flowering hydrangea (my fav) as a gift for our garden at our fist apartment together. My dad helped us plant it, and we loved it. When we decided to move three years later, the tree had to come with us. By that point my Dad wasn’t supposed to be hanging out with plants as closely as he would like, so we rang up a couple of close friends. They didn’t even raise an eyebrow. Of course they’d help move the tree. They came to our little apartment, dug up the tree, drove the tree 45 minutes south to my parents for safe keeping (until we found our next home) and replanted it. In the rain. Beers and a few good pictures marked the event, and our little tree stayed with us.
Trees don’t love to be transplanted. This one was no different. The tree didn’t flower the next spring. It looked weak and had some spots on the bark. My Dad, against doctors orders, fertilized and cared for the tree. The next year it flowered. More flowers than in all the previous years.
By 2010 we had moved into a new house, had a baby, and were pretty sure this place was going to be our home for the foreseeable future. We had found our next oasis. My dad didn’t like the neighborhood, he was worried about our choice, but my mom talked him down and they even came to visit and enjoy our “backyard”. It was time to bring the tree back. This time to our new home with our little family. Our friends lives were busier, and time for carefree plant transplanting was a little more scarce. New jobs, new homes, serious girlfriends or wives were in the picture – but when we called, they still made the time. After a busy day at work, they all met out at my parents, dug up the tree, drove it 45 minutes north to Vancouver, dug up another bush, and planted the tree. In the dark. And in the rain. Beers and a few pictures marked the event, and our little tree stayed with us.
A couple of years went by. The tree loved our place. It flowered and grew, it looked great in the garden, and our family and friends gathered many times through the springs and summers in our yard. It was wonderful, and Cam and I often smiled at how far the little tree had come. Life was busier still. Our friends all got married, moved into new homes, and had babies. We all still made time for each other, and the friendships that started in university or before, continued to be strengthened by life’s experiences together. In that time, we were blessed with two baby girls. Three weeks later, after meeting them once, my Dad closed his eyes for the last time. Time does not heal all wounds. That loss does not get easier each day. But the memories of his generosity and love and laughter remind us of the happiness he brought to this world, and of the kind of people we want to be.
A couple of years after the twins were born, we had clearly outgrown our little home, and we knew it was time to move the tree once again. We hoped it would survive another transplant, and knew it was not a good time of year to move it. The timing was tight and we had no choice. We had to move the tree. We were embarrassed to ask our friends to help us once again. We looked in to renting a truck for a day, or hiring someone to move it. But the reality was that we needed the help of someone who knew the tree, and knew how much it meant to our family – how entwined it was with our history and our future. By this time it was a gorgeous tree that flowered with big white beautiful smelling blooms that faded into pink and lasted until the fall. It was healthy and strong. We called for help.
Without a question, our friend came again. This time he and Cam moved the tree. We didn’t know where we were moving to (again) so it needed to go back to my parents house (again). Busy lives and jobs and babies meant that they didn’t have time for the beer this time, but did snap this photo of the event, and the little tree stayed with us.
My mom took on the role of guardian. She watered and cared for our little tree. She watched the spots grow on the bark, and the leaves get weak once again – but she nurtured it back. She loves that tree as much as we do, and she knows how much it means to us.
Today we live in a beautiful home with our big little family, and as the first year passes us by in our new place we know it will be time soon, again, to transplant the tree and bring it home to us – where we hope to live for many years to come.
This tree: given to us with love, has shown us so much. It has helped remind us of what incredible friends we have. It has shown us about resiliency and over-coming odds. It has shown us about disease and sickness, and the ability to overcome to beauty. It reminds us of the power of loving something and believing in it, the need to nurture and help those things we love to survive and thrive.
This tree has a story – it’s our story.
this is our tree today…