We moved R's tree to our yard in time for Mother's Day. Technically we did it in time for the other Mother's Day...the one I didn't bother mentioning to anyone. That wasn't the intent anyway. This just happens to be a good time of year for moving deciduous trees.
T commented that he would like something ornamental better--something with showy blooms to breakup the monotony in our yard. That wasn't my intent either.
This is an intention-free zone.
Left to my own notions, I never would have purposely planted anything as a memorial to my daughter. I'm not opposed to the practice. I just dread dead memorial plants. And I'm tired of dread.
But this tree was already dead when I found it, burning through its limited resources, waiting for a taxpayer-purchased weed-whacker to come and finish the job. It turns out that I'm more tired of death than I am of dread.
So, I threw caution to the wind, dug the little tree up with a random stick, and planted it in a vacant spot alongside my mom's garage where it stayed until we could plant at the new house.
At my 6-week post-partum visit, the OB ran through the list of questions that mark the route for his daily parade of interchangeable lady parts.
"Are you sad?"
"I mean, are you sadder than you would expect?"
I swear there was an audible click as the doorway that stood open between me and the ordinary world closed...forever. I may have laughed a little.
What did I expect? A first time mother to almost died and almost lived. I felt like the entire universe had been crammed into the space between my ears and there was no room left for expectations of any kind.
Going on four years since pregnancy/birth/death, aside from the eternal ache of missing R and my white-hot obsession with C, this is the most lasting effect--I lost my expectations.
I can need and hope and want. I just can't expect.
I think this may actually be an improvement.
R's tree started out like any other red maple. The seed landed, down went the roots, up went the cotyledon. When the resources supplied by the seed were gone, leaves sprouted and photosynthesis kicked in...as expected.
It had a lot of siblings, this tree. In the r-selected world of plant propagation, it's all about the numbers. Because, if it can expect anything at all, a tree probably expects dead babies.
Survival is for the seeds that land in a wooded area with the best soil and a little break in the canopy to let in the sunlight. If conditions are right, a red maple can expect to live for close to one hundred years. It's a relatively short lifespan for a tree but, still.
Pressed up against the post of a playground structure (even one as well-meant as this one) with the maintenance crew breathing down its neck, this tree couldn't expect much more than a couple of weeks.
But, you know, fuck expectations.