When Will It Grow?
When the kids were young, we planted a sycamore tree in the yard.
Dylan was maybe seven, Shane maybe four, when the truck pulled in with our specially-ordered “real” sycamore. It was about 15 feet high, and the kids watched the tree guys plant it.
Shane stood there, staring. “It’s not big like a tree,” he said.
Dylan spun around in the driveway, waiting for the planting to be finished, laughing at his unknowing little brother. “It’s going to grow,” Dylan said. “And then it will be a big tree like the other ones.”
“You’re right,” I said to Dylan. “It will grow, just like you guys will grow. And someday it will be one hundred feet tall!”
“Wow,” Dylan gasped. “I didn’t know if it could be that tall!”
Shane just stared.
The next day, the kids clomped outside and looked at the tree.
“It looks the same,” Dylan said.
“Yeah,” Shane said. “It is just the same high as yesterday.”
“When is it going to grow?”
“It will grow,” I told them. “You might not be able to see it today, but it will grow.”
The next day, we had the same conversation. After a week, the kids gave up on watching the tree grow. It can be a rather mundane experience.
But the tree sits outside my office window, so I can look at it all day long.
It was small for a long, long time. For awhile, I worried that it wouldn’t survive. I deep-watered it meticulously, to make sure it grew deep roots. I ran out and saved it after a blizzard, when it was bent all the way to the ground and nearly annihilated by a foot of snow. I hung a bird feeder on it, to attract some wildlife, but none of the birds noticed. I saw ants running on its trunk, and couldn’t decide if I should be excited or worried.
Eventually, birds came, and even squirrels. One year, we had mangy foxes roaming our neighborhood, and we used the base of the tree as a food station for their medication – and cured the whole lot. Now we have regular wildlife visiting, night and day. Just last year, though, the leaves looked yellow and spotted, and I researched: the tree was sick. We called a tree company, who gave it a little tree medicine and got it back to its full potential. They added a little tree food, too. I was glad it was back to being healthy.
A few nights ago, I walked onto our front porch and glanced over at the tree. What I saw nearly knocked me over.
Our tree is enormous. It now towers over our three-story house by a good 20 feet. Each of its huge branches is longer than the entire original tree was, reaching into the heavens. Its leaves are like giant green elephant ears. The tree has grown so much, I can hardly believe it’s the same one we planted.
Looking at that tree caught me by surprise, and I gasped aloud. Then, I nearly cried.
It’s exactly the same way I feel when I look at my kids.