I share this story with the permission of it’s author, Michael Joe Harrison. Michael was on my
first date with Larry, now my husband of 37 years. Larry was Michael’s volunteer big brother
through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Virginia. He was 15, a long-haired foul-mouthed certified
Juvenile Delinquent. Long story short, we all got out of VA; Larry & I, my daughter Lisa and
Michael became a family Seattle. Michael quickly adopted the role of loyal protective big
brother. At 18 he went back East, reunited with his sister, finished school, married, established
a business, raised a family, and became the one his relatives turned to when their kids got into
trouble. When Lisa got married, we offered her any gift she could imagine - she wanted Michael
in her wedding. Now a grandfather, musician, business owner in Georgia, and still very much part
of our family, Michael reflects on fatherhood in this from his Facebook page.
Just like my Children
Roughly 14 years ago, most all the trees in the front yard I planted. Each one planted represented
a loved one. Specifically today, would like to talk about the ones planted for my children, Jennifer
Manor, Chris Bradley and Kim Harrison.
When I planted these trees, they were young. I feed and watered them, pampered them hoping
they would grow tall and strong. Just like my children.
These trees started to grow, there roots grew deep to provide a strong foundation to stand on. It
took a little time but slowly they anchored themselves and could hold their own. Just like my children.
Their branches spread, helped provide shade on hot days. Their branches provided shelter and
families grew from their branches. Just like my children.
Sometimes branches broke. I would worry that if too many broke, I would lose them. New branches
grew and the trees were more resilient, wiser if you will. Just like my children.
Each tree is different. None are the same. This means they grew and matured at different rates.
Their leafs and blooms grew and fell at different time. Each one is unique. Just like my children.
These trees have weathered many seasons. They would grow new leaves every spring. Survived the
bitter cold and survived life’s stormy weather. Just like my children.
We all moved away. I could no longer pamper them. They had to stand on their own and they did.
They are strong, healthy and their leaves provide air which breath life to all. Just like my children.
Which one is my favorite? Well I can’t answer that. Each one has their history. Each one was planted
with love equally. Along the journey, each one has special memories and stories. Just like my children.
To say I am proud of these trees, I am. Actually I love these trees. Love comes in many forms. It’s
been a wonderful experience to watch these trees to grow and mature. So yes I do love them.
Just like my children.