The following is my recollection of a recent discussion over Sunday dinner with certain members of my family.  Names have remained the same to incriminate and embarrass the innocent.  I may have completely inventedtaken some poetic license as to the exact dialogue but the general sentiment is there.  Since I can’t remember how this conversation began I am going to start in the middle and let the highly intelligent MoB readers figure it out:

My Little Brother Justin:  I can’t read that book to my kids.  I cry after the first three pages.  Every time.

Me:  Which book?

Little Bro:  The Giving Tree.

Me:  Really? You actually shed tears?

Little Bro:  Yup

Little Bro’s lovely wife, Venessa:  Me, too.

My mother (to me):  You mean you don’t cry when you read The Giving Tree aloud to the boys?

Me:  Uh….no.

My mother:  Don’t you know what it’s about??

Me:  (offended)  Of course I know what it’s about .

Little Bro: (as if I said I didn’t know what it’s about):  It’s about children growing up and moving away and not needing their parents anymore.  Doesn’t that make you sad?? Are you some sort of sociopath?  Do you cry at ANYTHING?

Me:  I cry every time I watch Steel Magnolias, Terms of Endearment and Beaches…and, um…. whenever I listen to Sarah MacLachlan.  I am perfectly normal.

Venessa runs to fetch the book so my family can watch me read it aloud without crying, which I refuse to do.  I watched the O.J. Simpson trial and I know what happens when you try to prove a point through re-enactments.  (If the glove doesn’t fit…)  So the family proceeded to analyze why I don’t cry when I read The Giving Tree.  I suggested that it might have something to do with the huge, creepy picture of Shel Silverstein on the back of the book – which gave me bad dreams as a little girl.


But truthfully I never gave this a lot of thought.  I didn’t realize that crying was required.  Now that I did, I pondered my obvious insensitivity and came to the conclusion that I have always embraced The Giving Tree as a happy book about unconditional love and friendship.  I never actually felt sorry for the tree because it wanted to give all these things away – and the boy comes back in the end so that’s all good.  As an adult,  I have gifted this book to many grown friends who were important to me…many who didn’t even have children at the time.  These were friends who I wanted to know how happy they made me, how much I enjoyed giving pieces of myself to them, and that I would always be there for them in life.  That’s not sad.  It’s wonderful, right?


Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter