The Grapefruit Tree

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July 26th, 2005, one of the hottest days of the year in San Diego, and my plan was to spend it outside. I needed to plant a pink grapefruit tree. This tree would be for my soon-to-be-brother, for he was the definition of a miracle. My mother suffered many health issues in her past, and my family wasn’t sure if her body could handle the birth of a third child. Her medical history consisted of Infectious Mononucleosis (commonly known as mono), which elevated to Bells Palsy (a disease that paralyzes one side of the face), her infamous brain hemorrhage that took over soon after I was born, and finally, her heart attack last year. This baby will prove that if you have faith, anything is possible.
I stood in the doorway, regretting my decision, but I forced myself to not turn back. I faced my fear of sunburn and walked into the back yard of my grandparents’ house; I felt determined to plant this little tree. My naked feet throbbed from the sharp pain of the heat radiating from the concrete patio, so I quickly raced over to the cool grass- still wet from the morning dew. It seemed as if the walk over to the shade on the east side of the yard took centuries. Finally, I found the perfect spot- a small corner near the playhouse that my grandpa built for me when I was six years old. My tree fit perfectly there.

I dug a small hole just deep enough to hold the little seed that I extracted from my grandma’s morning grapefruit (she and my grandpa eat one every morning with their oatmeal). I placed the warm, moist soil back over my seed, told it that one day, it will grow to be a big, strong tree, and poured a little water over it. Now came the hard part, waiting.
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August 29th, 2005, a day that would sooner make history for the day that Hurricane Katrina would hit New Orleans. Also, my mother gave birth to my little brother Hayden on that warm, sunny morning. Unfortunately, I live 1,100 miles away in Beaverton, Oregon. It was impossible for me to be present at my brother’s birth, and that crushed me. My brother is proof that anything can happen.
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“Happy Thanksgiving!” screamed my mom as I bolted out of the car and into the small adobe house. Hayden and I were going to meet for the first time, today. I saw my step dad, Erik, walking in circles in the back yard, holding a small bundle of blankets. The moment I walked outside, the sun temporarily blinded me, and when I finally got my sight back, my brother lay in my open arms; I’d waited for this moment for two months. His eyes were like looking into miniature mirrors, and were a deep blue, just like mine when I was his age.
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His beauty overcame me; he looked like a little porcelain doll, and I held him just as carefully. His rosebud lips formed a small perfect "O" as he gawked at something green in the corner of the yard. I kept a grip on my brother, and trekked the small bank that led to my tiny leaflet growing steadily in the corner of the yard. Seeing its miniature leaves and its stem, rather than a trunk, made me think of how closely it resembled my little brother. This small plant still depended on my grandparents for food and water, much like my brother. And soon, it will need two wooden stakes to hold it up, just as my brother will. I became excited to see how both this tree and my little brother would turn out.
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I still go to that corner every time I go to my grandma and grandpa's house, and I still sit with my brother in the yard and tell him the story about the tree. He's three now, just like my tree, and they both strong and healthy.

I am very proud of the pair of them. Hayden is so big, just like his daddy, and my tree is even bigger.





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