June 19, 2007

My Family Tree

This is a Loquat (aka Japanese Plum) tree that grows in the front yard at my in-laws. I've decided this is our family tree. Symbolically speaking, of course.

Several years ago, Alex took his Dad to my parents' home. I don't know where I was, but I wasn't there. I don't remember why they decided to go to see my parents, but I know it was primarily just to visit and show his Dad their home and my hometown. I find that important. Alex's relationship with my parents is strong enough that he would choose to go visit them, even when I'm not around. That visiting my parents (nearly an hour away) is high enough on his list of things to do that it beat out all the other ways of entertaining his father during a brief visit. And I. was. not. there. This is a relationship, a friendship, that doesn't depend entirely on me. Oh, I know it is inextricably tied to his relationship with me, but it is clearly not just about me.

And my parents were people his Dad liked enough that he wanted to spend part of his precious time with his son, a son he doesn't see often enough, visiting with them. They have a friendship independent of the marriage of their children. When Alex's parents came to visit in May, my parents came to our house to see them. (And to party with them. The police were called... I wish I was kidding.) By the end of the night, they were making plans to celebrate Alex's birthday down at his parents. And the fourth of July. Alex and I hadn't even thought yet about what we'd be doing for his birthday. But, let us be clear, that was as much about an excuse for them to hang out as it was about us.

So, the weekend after Alex's birthday, we found ourselves and my parents at his parent's house. (No cops this time. But only because their neighbors are more understanding.) And at some point during that weekend I walked outside and saw the Loquat tree. This tree grew from a seed Alex's Dad brought back with him from my parents' house. During that first visit several years back, my Dad gave him some fruit off their tree to try. He kept the seed and planted it - and it has clearly thrived.

I stood there, looking at the healthy, growing tree and listening to our family on the back deck. Our parents who have come together to form a unified family around us, laughing together because they genuinely enjoy each other. A young couple where each already loves and values the parents of the other. Already a family full of sharing and connections. And I marveled at how very, very lucky I am to have such a great family tree.

And then I spent some time envying his Dad his green thumb. Really, who can just wrap up a seed from a fruit, bring it home days later, and grow a tree?

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