My Granddad planted a tree when my mom was born. He transplanted the sapling from his childhood home across the state. It was just a normal, average oak tree. But he loved that tree.
“I’m not trying to fight you on this, Edwin,” Aunt Leigh steamed. “But you must understand. Daddy wanted us to sell the estate.”
“Leigh, you’re sounding awfully money grubbing.” Uncle Edwin.
“But if you read the will, it clearly states what we’re to do with the house.”
“Exactly. He wanted us to make money off it. Do you know how much we could make by turning it into a Bed and Breakfast?”
“Now who sounds money grubbing?”
“Well,” my mother. “I think it would be nice to let Elle live on the property. You know, keep it up and all that.”
“Mom,” I said. “I don’t know that I’d like that.”
“Besides,” Edwin. “It wouldn’t be fair. Elle getting it and us…well…I’d feel a little cheated.”
“Oh, no.” My mother sipped her coffee. “We’d expect Elle to pay rent.”
“Well,” Leigh. “I just think that you’re all reading the will wrong.”
“Is it an interpretation issue?” I asked. “Why is it such a problem?”
“Oh, honey. You really don’t understand. You’re too young.”
“But, mom, I’m 35.”
“Uh huh. Just leave this to us to figure out.”
“You don’t seem to be doing that so well now, are you?” I walked out. I wanted to sit under Robert Frost.
It felt like nothing would ever make my family get things together. They would fight over the house until that was settled. Then they would find something else to argue over. And none of it really mattered at all.
How could I tell them that I carried the next generation in my womb? It might cause more problems. They didn’t approve of my husband and his family. The lima bean sized offspring didn’t need to enter this family. She or he didn’t deserve to watch aunts and uncles and grandparents clawing each other apart with hateful words and spite.
I walked outside. The air was sharp, just cold enough for a sweater. But the sun was shining. I tipped my face up to catch the warm glow.
The sun was behind Robert Frost’s branches. I had to squint as I walked toward my sitting spot. I lowered myself, letting my back rub against the course bark. I rested my body against the solid trunk. The smell of the tree and the earth triggered my mind to memories of childhood. Climbing into the limbs, reading books under the shade of leaves, running rings around the base, leaping over roots. I closed my eyes and absorbed the silence and calm.
After a few moments my heart stopped thudding, my anxious jitters subsided. I realized that I no longer cared what happened with the money or the house or the china. All that was worthless. I just wanted to sit with my family and share memories of my Granddad. To tell stories and recite his wise words. To let the next generation in on how great a man he was. All the rest was just a vapor. It was nothing.
I looked up and saw the gold dots of bloom on the tips of Robert Frost’s fingers. The hope of spring nestled in my heart.
Something new was coming.