This is Shel Silverstein. He wrote a book called The Giving Tree. It makes me cry. I read it for the first time when we were waiting for Ava's referral. I saw the symbolism in it but was saddened by the boy's continuous need to take and take from the tree. At the time I knew I did not understand the soul rocking pull that a relationship with a child can bring.
Last night Ava found the book in her bookshelf and brought it to me to read to her. I saw it and said, "Oooh, how about Angelina Ballerina?" "No, I like the way this man looks", she said turning to book over to the back cover. (Well, heck I like the way he looks too babe. But that's another conversation.) You have to admit he is sort of a stud.
We read the book and I tried my hardest not to cry. I felt compelled to tell her that the book is not really about a boy and a tree. Did she see that? It's about unconditional love and a parent's compulsion to give and give to the child she loves more than life itself. The tree is unapologetically selfless. Makes you think.
So, just as I was about ready to lose the grip on my waterworks show. Ava says, "I love that book, is that Johnny Appleseed on the back?" Huh? "You know Mommy, I think that is Johnny Appleseed." I answer, "No sweetie that is Shel Silverstein and his picture is on the book because he wrote the book." Let me insert here that I believe Johnny Appleseed has been in the preschool curriculum this month. She was insistent, I was wrong and that picture showed Johnny Appleseed. In my infinite wisdom, and the fact that it was an hour past her bedtime I chose not to argue.
This morning she greeted me with The Giving Tree in hand. Begging me to read it to her. She smiled that silly grin and with a twinkle in her eye said, "Please read me Johnny Appleseed's book that's not about the boy and the tree."
And now I have a happy memory when I see The Giving Tree. Makes you wonder about who's giving.