Magnolia Tree Memories
For Such a Tiny Tree, It Provided Ongoing Greatness
It was a gift for me, the day I was born. It wasn’t your typical baby gift, but one meant to last a lifetime. It was a tiny magnolia tree. It came from my grandmother, my father’s mother. She would be able to watch the tree bloom and grow, as I would over the years.
When I was three, my family moved from the house with my magnolia tree. We moved just several blocks away, and every time we drove by our old house, we would see how my tree had grown.
When I was five, my grandmother died. What memories I had of my time with her were short. Now seeing the magnolia tree gave me great comfort, knowing the love my grandmother had for me.
Years went by, and many houses later, I would get married and give birth to a fine son. But six months after the birth of my son, our family’s lives would take an unforeseeable turn. We would lose our mother to cancer, suddenly and unexpectedly.
My sisters and I found ourselves driving by our old houses, and remembering all the great times we had when we were children. The house with the magnolia tree, I drove by often. I tried to imagine my mother in that house, holding me, when I was a newborn. I tried to imagine her looking out of my nursery window on the second floor, and smiling down at the pretty blooms on my magnolia tree.
But the interesting thing about my tree, is that over the years, it really didn’t grow that much. It did not become an encompassing tree taking over the front yard, as many magnolia trees do. It seemed happy, in its petite stature, just to blend well against the two story wood framed house. It looked the same as it did when my family lived there. It was almost as if time had stood still; that thirty-five years had not actually passed, but maybe just a few.
One day, as I passed my house with the magnolia tree, my stomach sank. A huge chain-linked fence surrounded my family’s old house. I knew what was going to happen. They were going to tear down my first home, and build a huge, new house in its place.
Tears streamed down my face. What would I do, when I could no longer drive by and reminisce with my little tree? With its petite size, it provided very little shade, and had very few blooms. But what it had given us, was irreplaceable.
The next time I drove by my house, I noticed a fence around my tree. A city ordinance would protect my tree, and my memory.
Within a matter of months, a huge house was built on the double lot where my family’s house once stood. But in the front yard, barely visible against the massive brick, are several tiny magnolia blooms. But my tree’s small trunk
carries its branches with unfaltering grace. In its leaves, it holds something much greater than brick. Humility.