When my children were little, our house was graced by a gorgeous flowering crabapple tree in the front yard. It was big enough to hold little ones, swinging from a rope, small enough for them to climb. My daughter used to race out the front door on summer mornings, filmy nightgown and white blonde hair floating, to get to her tree. She would grab the rope, little girl panties now visible to all, and swing with abandon. The picture of her in this tree, covered in pink blossoms, my little girl, so free, has never left my heart.
My granddaughter turns 2 on Thursday, I haven’t seen her since she was 6 months old. The gift of watching her birth connected us, nothing can break that. I have decided we will mark her birthday with the planting of a flowering crabapple, a pink princess if I can find it. I want to watch it grow, to pray over this tree and know that one day she might swing from its branches, climb up to read a book. I will make pink cupcakes, look at old pictures, wait for the day that I have new ones.
Pastor Paul talked this week about planting trees for the next generation to enjoy the shade. We will plant this tree for our Princess, trusting that one day she will see the flowers and eat cupcakes with her grandma. We will plant the seeds of hope on this child’s birthday, watering, nurturing, protecting our hope through each season.
Until she comes her to see this tree, I pray she has her own, to race to in a filmy nightgown. I pray her life is full of joy, mud, sticky things, and cupcakes. I pray that God whispers in her heart that somewhere there is a grandma who loves her beyond measure. Happy Birthday little princess, swing free, climb carefully. I know your mama will catch you.