My Father and the Cherry Trees

Returning home stronger

Washington DC, Monument from Lincoln

Him: Is everything ok with you? Can I help you with anything?
Me: I’m fine dad, really.

Saw my pop the other day. He’s getting on in years and I worry about him. He’s a short guy but I remember as a kid that he seemed huge to me. Now that he’s older, he seems even smaller.

His birthday’s coming up soon and I’m trying to wrap my head around just how much older he actually is. I forget at times. After all, parents are simply just your parents – it’s hard to see them as anything else.

And I suppose the opposite is true as well; parents look at their children as naked helpless things.

It worries me just how much he worries about us. It doesn’t matter how much money we might make nor how secure we are in life, parents will always worry, I suppose.

Had to dash to a meeting so I didn’t have too much time to spend with him. But I wanted to tell him a story. Since I didn’t have time to tell him, I’ll tell you.

In 1912, the Mayor of Tokyo sent a gift of Japanese cherry trees to Washington DC as a symbol of friendship. A total of 3,020 from a famous group of trees along the Arakawa River in Tokyo were planted in West Potomac Park.

Then World War II happened. The relationship went to hell and only healed afterward.

In 1956, it was discovered that the cherry trees of the Arakawa River were badly damaged, most likely due to the war. So the US donated some of the cherry trees that they were given. They were the same stock – the very same family – of trees from 1912. But they were stronger than the original stock. They could flourish when the original trees that never left could not.

I wrote once to my grandma when she passed to not worry so much about my mom. She was safe here.

And to my pop, I want him to know we are too. We’re safe.

Because sometimes when you send things out into the world, they return home stronger.

Perhaps one day I’ll have children of my own. And I’ll send them off into the world.

I’ll try not to worry about them too much but I’m sure I will.

But I hope they return home someday, stronger than when they left.

Him: I worry about all of you.
Me: I know you do, dad. You don’t have to.

Location: yesterday, lunch with my dad
Mood: nostalgic
Music: Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song
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