Monday, April 11, 2016

A Tree Grows in Jerusalem, A Metaphor

Every year shortly before Pessach, Raphaela and I sort through her clothing and toys, and decide what she has outgrown.  Then, while Raphaela is in school (so as to avoid needless trauma), I donate the items to worthy places in the neighborhood.

The puzzles and books go to Raphaela's former nursery school, because at age three they helped my daughter recover remarkably quickly from her previous damaging child care environment.  Within a week of starting this new nursery, Raphaela had transitioned from a quiet mouse to a talkative, happy and glowingly positive toddler, and I will never be able to thank them sufficiently for that.

When I walked up to this building yesterday, I could not help but smile.  There in the upper courtyard grew a strong and healthy tree, a sapling that had been planted on Tu BiShvat the year that Raphaela attended nursery there, over three years ago.

I snuck inside the classroom and embraced her two teachers, and they inquired about Raphaela, the girl she is today:  "Does she still tell stories all the time?"  "Does she still radiate love and give hugs?"  "Does she have a beautiful group of friends?"  "How is she enjoying first grade?"

Like that tree, Raphaela has become a complete personality, with strong roots and opinions, and constantly amazing me every day with her warmth and insight.  And I am grateful every day.

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