Friday, August 22, 2008

The Fig Tree

The day Jeremy came home from the hospital, John's parents and sister traveled quite a distance to see the new baby. Tighe was nearly four. He was proud of his little brother, and had been anxious to have us return home. There had been no signs of jealousy.

It's important to note that John is the only dad Tighe ever knew. His biological father never stuck around to meet him. John and I married just before Tighe's second birthday. He loved John's parents, and called them Grandma and Grandpa. 

When they arrived at our home, they brought along a fig tree. It was about three feet tall, and with great ceremony they planted it in our backyard. It was to celebrate this new life. I was very touched that they would think to do this for us. Then we went into the house, and Grandma and Grandpa took the baby. Grandma held the little boy on her lap and looked at her husband with tears in her eyes.

With Tighe standing right in front of her, hand on her knee as she held the baby, she said to Grandpa, "Isn't he beautiful! Our first grandchild!"

Tighe's face fell. My face froze. John left the room. Grandpa nodded and took the child from her. To them, this was blood of their blood—thus, their first grandchild. 

I'm not sure what I did. I was too mad to handle the situation properly, and soon realized that Tighe had slipped out of the room. Searching for him, I found his room empty. I finally found him in the yard. He had taken his little plastic hatchet and chopped down the fig tree, about three inches from the roots. 

John's sister found us outside by the tree. I was holding him, and we were both crying. The hatchet was lying by the splintered pieces of the tree. She sat down and took Tighe from me. "Babies are pretty useless for a few years anyway. I'll bet you have some cool toys. Can we go play?" she asked him.

Taking him by the hand, she led the way to his room, and they stayed there until the grandparents were ready to leave. It was never mentioned again, but I've always thought she was one of the biggest people I've ever met.

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