Baby A on the upper branch, Baby B on the trunk!

Baby A on the upper branch, Baby B on the trunk!

When we were in Aruba, I took a picture of the girls as they clambered into the arms of a large tree. As they played in the branches, I remembered the poem, “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein (I have included the poem at the end of this blog as well as a link to the author’s Youtube reading). There are different interpretations to the poem, but the one I like the most says,

In many ways, Silverstein’s parable relates the ideal characteristics of the give-and-take (admittedly, mostly give) relationship that should exist between mother and child. In attending to both the physical and psychological needs of the boy, Tree becomes an almost ideal mother figure, nurturing Boy throughout his life and ensuring not only his corporeal well-being, but the development of self-confidence and the ability to thrive despite the obvious hardships that approach him as he grows older. In this case, Tree is a willing martyr for Boy’s security, demonstrating the wisdom of the model mother who recognizes the importance of sacrifice in ensuring the happiness of her child. And indeed, Tree ends the story as happy as she began, despite any seeming loss of self, for she knows that it comes not with the price for her own life, but with the guarantee for the life of the one she loves best of all. — Editor’s Note.

I hope it means that the author’s allegory is based on the love he has received from his own mother. One thing is for sure, every time I meet an older mother, I witness the best maternal love has to offer, and I am reminded of the poem again. And, yet, older mothers’ are stigmatized by society, which can become wearisome. It occurred to me that while I enjoy writing the blog, an actual group where we could support one another would be a nice compliment. So, I have created a private group on Facebook, just for mothers like us, Older Moms Support Group. I hope you will join me!


The Giving Tree by Shel Elliot

(Click here for the Author’s Reading)

Once there was a tree….

and she loved a little boy.

And everyday the boy would come

and he would gather her leaves

and make them into crowns

and play king of the forest.

He would climb up her trunk

and swing from her branches

and eat apples.

And they would play hide-and-go-seek.

And when he was tired,

he would sleep in her shade.

And the boy loved the tree….

very much.

And the tree was happy.

But time went by.

And the boy grew older.

And the tree was often alone.

Then one day the boy came to the tree

and the tree said, “Come, Boy, come and

climb up my trunk and swing from my

branches and eat apples and play in my

shade and be happy.”

“I am too big to climb and play” said

the boy.

“I want to buy things and have fun.

I want some money?”

“I’m sorry,” said the tree, “but I

have no money.

I have only leaves and apples.

Take my apples, Boy, and sell them in

the city. Then you will have money and

you will be happy.”

And so the boy climbed up the

tree and gathered her apples

and carried them away.

And the tree was happy.

But the boy stayed away for a long time….

and the tree was sad.

And then one day the boy came back

and the tree shook with joy

and she said, “Come, Boy, climb up my trunk

and swing from my branches and be happy.”

“I am too busy to climb trees,” said the boy.

“I want a house to keep me warm,” he said.

“I want a wife and I want children,

so I need a house.

Can you give me a house ?”

” I have no house,” said the tree.

“The forest is my house,

but you may cut off

my branches and build a

house. Then you will be happy.”

And so the boy cut off her branches

and carried them away

to build his house.

And the tree was happy.

But the boy stayed away for a long time.

And when he came back,

the tree was so happy

she could hardly speak.

“Come, Boy,” she whispered,

“come and play.”

“I am too old and sad to play,”

said the boy.

“I want a boat that will

take me far away from here.

Can you give me a boat?”

“Cut down my trunk

and make a boat,” said the tree.

“Then you can sail away…

and be happy.”

And so the boy cut down her trunk

and made a boat and sailed away.

And the tree was happy

… but not really.

And after a long time

the boy came back again.

“I am sorry, Boy,”

said the tree,” but I have nothing

left to give you –

My apples are gone.”

“My teeth are too weak

for apples,” said the boy.

“My branches are gone,”

said the tree. ” You

cannot swing on them – “

“I am too old to swing

on branches,” said the boy.

“My trunk is gone, ” said the tree.

“You cannot climb – “

“I am too tired to climb,” said the boy.

“I am sorry,” sighed the tree.

“I wish that I could give you something….

but I have nothing left.

I am just an old stump.

I am sorry….”

“I don’t need very much now,” said the boy.

“just a quiet place to sit and rest.

I am very tired.”

“Well,” said the tree, straightening

herself up as much as she could,

“well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting

Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.”

And the boy did.

And the tree was happy.

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