Essence of Reminiscence – Week 2 – Mischiefs and Pranks: “The Little Girl in the Tree”
I’ll never forget the beautiful spring day in late May when our five-year-old daughter Stephanie found herself as the little girl who needed her daddy to be her knight in shining armor. It all started out as a bit of mischief on her part, and she was basically just trying to have a bit of fun, but it didn’t turn out to be as much fun as she had expected. I was working a late shift at the hospital at the time, but after I heard about what happened, I was glad that I wasn’t there, because I know that I would have been in panic mode. But I’m getting ahead of myself, so let me start at the beginning.
At the time this story happened, we had three children: Joe, age 12, Sarah, age 7, and Stephanie, age 5. Because Sarah and Stephanie are so close in age, they have always enjoyed a very close relationship as sisters and still do to this very day. They played together, shared a bedroom, argued with each other and then made up with each other five minutes later, shared secrets, and even took baths together. I have always loved their sister bond because it is like a precious gem – priceless.
In our back yard, hanging over our deck, is our one and only apple tree, which we dearly love. This apple tree is not very tall, and it only bears these little apples which we don’t eat, but just let them fall to the ground and then my husband has the dreary task of having to gather them up from all over the ground and the deck. But the special thing about this apple tree, particularly for me is that somehow it always blooms on Mother’s Day weekend.
But our daughter Sarah loved this apple tree for another reason. She would climb into the apple tree (not very high, maybe just a a couple limbs) and then, thinking that the the rest of the world could neither see nor hear her, she would sing at the top of her lungs and to her heart’s content. It was her own little world up there in what she termed as “my apple tree” and she loved that she could escape to it whenever she wanted to. Oh, how I loved to watch her through my kitchen window. I would crack the window open very carefully so she wouldn’t hear, lest she’d catch me spying on her, and watch and listen as she sang her little girl songs, most of which were made up, suppressing my laughter. It really was quite charming.
Enter Stephanie. One day she discovered her sister Sarah in the apple tree and noticed just how much fun she was having. She didn’t mention a single word of it to Sarah or to me. She just mulled it over in her little head, which can sometimes be a dangerous thing for a 5-year-old, as we later found out!
Remember that beautiful spring day in late May that I mentioned earlier? The one on which I was working the late shift at the hospital? I forgot to mention how windy it was that day and I forgot to mention that my husband was home with the kids. The girls were in the back yard playing – nothing unusual about that, and Mike was getting supper ready, just like any good Dad should, right? Just then, Sarah came running into the house yelling, “Daddy, Daddy, come quick! Stephie’s stuck!”
“Stuck! What do you mean, stuck?”
“She’s stuck in the apple tree, Daddy, and she can’t get down! Hurry! She’s crying!.”
Mike raced out the door and Sarah followed him to the back yard. As my husband rounded the corner of the house to the deck where the apple tree was located, he looked up, and there was our little girl – all the way on the very top branch, holding on for dear life, swaying to and fro with each gust of wind.
“Daddy! Help me!” Stephanie could barely get the words out between her sobs.
“I will, honey.”
“I’m scared, Daddy.”
“It’s okay, honey. Just hold on tight. ”
Then my husband had to rush to the garage, get the ladder, and even so, he was barely able to reach our youngest daughter from the top branch. How in the world she ever managed to climb onto the skinniest branch and not have it break under her weight, even though she was small, we will never know, although I believe Divine Providence may have had something to do with it.
Stephanie never did climb the apple tree again, although Sarah did continue to sing in it for a year or so after the incident, but then gradually outgrew it, a fact which saddened me. But all little girls do have to grow up sometime. It’s just that we mothers really don’t want them to, right?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Children have the unforgivable habit of growing up.” ~ Bjarne Reuter
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