Tall, happy and bright yellow – that’s exactly how I would describe it. We shared a special bond, since we had grown up together. I still remember the day we had first met.
It was in September-my favorite month. Favorite because it meant that my birthday was near. I was sitting on the big red sofa in our living room and waiting for the doorbell to ring. And as soon as the clock struck 12, it did. I ran as fast as I could and swung the door open.
Before me stood a tall medium sized package, wrapped beautifully in shiny green. And right next to it was my father.
“Happy Birthday Son!” – he had said. I hugged him and quickly started to unwrap the mysterious present.
And as I did, I started to think- Could it be the giant toy tractor that I had asked for when we went to the mall? Was it the cool new videogame that I had heard about in school?Or maybe it was a box full of my favorite candy!
After a few minutes, I found out what it was – a mini oak tree. Not the tractor, Not the videogame and not the box full of candy. A tree – that’s all it was.
Now I knew that I should have been happy, but honestly, I wasn’t. Not because I hadn’t gotten what I wanted, but simply because I didn’t really know what to do with it. I stood there staring at it- trying to solve the mystery.
“Hey champ!”, said my father.
“I know this isn’t really what you were hoping for. And you probably don’t know why I got you this yet. But let me tell you, this is your new best friend. And he’s going to stay with you forever and teach you all about life, even when I’m not around.
“But you’re always going to buy me presents on my birthday right?”
“Of course son.” he said with a smile.
That was it. My first encounter with my dear companion and my last conversation with my dad. And ever since, the tiny oak tree became one of my most precious possessions.
I watched it grow each day. Some days it would have to face the harsh winter wind. Some days it stood under the scorching sun. Not once did it complain. Nor did its bright yellow leaves fade. It simply continued to stand tall. Sheltering those that stood beneath it. Becoming an abode for birds and insects. Adding beauty to the world.
And that’s what made it truly special.
Even today, it continues to be my best friend. Every time I look at it, it gives me new found hope. A reason to keep my head high even when life seems to be looking down. A reason to continue to give to others without expecting anything in return. The strength to keep moving on and to face each new challenge that comes my way.
And every time I look at the tiny tree, I know that he’s watching me from somewhere, somewhere up in the sky. So I simply look up and smile at the big ocean of blue that hovers above me. Thanking him for showing up at 12 that night. For ringing that doorbell. For wrapping that tall box. For teaching me how to live, without letting go.