Don’t Be A Giving Tree to Enablers While Drinking Your Cider in the Hood

Every one of us knows someone in our life who is a Giving Tree. Someone who gives happily of themselves to people they love, someone who seems sturdy and strong and whose generosity knows no bounds. If you do not know the Giving Tree, then you probably are the Giving Tree. If you don’t know the story, let me back up a minute. There is a Shel Silverstein story about a big, glorious apple tree who fell in love with a little boy and gave completely of herself to make sure he was taken care of and happy. She gave her apples for him to eat, her shade so he could nap, her branches so he could make a boat and on and on until she was nothing but a stump. Then all she had to give him was a place to sit, which she happily offered. I have been a Giving Tree and so to that shitty, selfish little boy I say, “Go choke on an apple core, you rotten little dick.”
If you are a Giving Tree, do me a favor. Shed some leaves once in awhile so that you can rest all winter, tuck a few apples under your bark before people come and take them all and have a goddamn apple cider soiree that you have to clean up after they take all your best apples it took you forever to grow. Remind that little boy that even though you are metaphorically a tree, you are an actual person with actual feelings and you matter. Tell him what he needs to give you and if by some miracle you get through and he offers something make yourself take it.
If you are a little boy and you have a tree in your life and you are man enough to realize that you are taking and taking without even stopping to water or appreciate the wonder that is this stable, beautiful saint, it isn’t too late. Today can be the day that you give the tree the fertilizer that is your kind words of appreciation, that you plant some flowers around her, that you sit beside her in the sunshine as equals in companionable silence.
These lopsided relationships don’t happen overnight. They are born of years of one person really wanting to give, to get love through giving more than she can spare and of one person taking because taking really is easy and the tree sure does seem anxious to give. They can’t get fixed overnight either. But maybe it starts today, with a seed. With a little personal accountability and courage and love. It’s not too late.


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