Once upon a time there was a little boy named Chris, who lived in a make-believe world of bumblebees and Jedi knights. He loved to play with his friends, his mom, and his daddy's Star Wars toys. Even though he was five and a half years older than his little sister, he played with her a little and grew to love her a lot.
In the spring of his first grade year his family moved to a new house in a town not so far away, leaving behind neighbors and friends he had known all his life. At his old house his grandfather had planted an oak tree in the front yard as a gift to Chris. His mom was sad to leave the tree behind because to her it was a symbol of his growth and held many happy memories for her.
In second grade Chris went to a new school in the town not so far away. His second grade teacher taught a lesson about how things grow and gave each child a tiny dogwood tree to grow at home. When Chris's mom saw the tiny tree which he carried home in a baggie, she nearly threw it in the trash because she didn't think a twig so small could become a beautiful tree. Still, she couldn't bear to discard a living thing no matter how small, so she planted the tiny dogwood in a patio planter which she would later use as a nursery to give "baby" trees and shrubs a good start for her flower beds and yard.
As Chris's mom nurtured that little dogwood tree it began to grow and thrive, just as her little boy did because of the love and care he received from his family, teachers, and friends. Even when the seasons of life were harsh, his mom continued to nurture both her son and the dogwood knowing that without her care, neither would survive the storms and difficulties they would face as they grew. Sometimes it seemed as if the dogwood and Chris were in a competition to see which of them would grow taller or bloom sooner.
Before she knew it, ten years had passed and her Jedi knight second-grader had grown into a handsome young man and graduated from high school. Like the many seasons that had passed for the dogwood, some were pleasant and some were very stormy. But the love of his parents remained constant throughout his childhood and adolescent years, in good times and in bad. Chris had learned some hard lessons, not only in school but in life, and his parents were both proud and happy to see him graduate from high school
The morning after his graduation, Chris's mom lovingly tended and watered the dogwood that had grown from a twig in a baggie to a nearly six-foot tree in just ten short years. She couldn't believe how quickly the time had passed! As the water from her hose quenched the thirsty tree, a solitary tear moistened her cheek as she thought about her grad and his dogwood, thankful that even after he left home to make a life of his own, the dogwood would remain as a symbol of the amazing young man Chris had become.
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