In early March of 1971 our first child was born in a hospital an hour away from our home. On the way home we made a short visit to a family who lived near the hospital. The weather though above freezing in the daytime, still hovered around the low forties and I had dressed our newborn for arctic weather. When my friend Lisa, a veteran mom of two young children, laid our crying baby boy on her sofa. She began unwrapping the layers: warm blanket, lighter blanket, receiving blanket, hat, booties and sweater down to a cozy footed one piece PJ. His tiny forehead was awash with perspiration. She wrapped him in his receiving blanket and he fell happily asleep. Jim went outside and returned with a rooted one foot high stick, and shoot from his dogwood tree.
Our friends gave us a hearty lunch repackaged the little one minus a few trappings. We moved on to our second and last stop before home at grandma’s house. Delighted she held him in her arms and gave him a nickname, Butchie. She called my husband that when he was a baby. I remember thinking of her when we had our first grandchild also a boy. It felt as if we had our son back again. Home at last, my husband placed the stick on the eastern side of the lawn on solidly frozen ground. We were not too optimistic when the ground thawed and we planted it there.
Some forty years later sitting on my deck as the sun rose, I wrote this poem
The Tree Still Stands
It blooms a while in springtime and lifts my soul To contemplate all that’s happened Since the stick was planted in the soil The babe came first before the barren, rooted wood They grew together one in earth, the other in love
Some Forty-two years have past The tree has grown and bloomed Almost destroyed by storms Trimmed and allowed to live The child, a man, a gift to us withstands the storms of living His progeny will face the bitter winds of life, yet live As the dogwood blooms in springtime… May 3, 2017