When I was little, the family across the street from us planted a tree in their front yard. The little girl who lived there was my best friend at the time and I remember standing next to her and her father as they dug the hole and lowered the baby tree into the ground, roots and all. It seemed difficult to believe that one day that tiny twig would match the size of the other trees lining their property. And it seemed even more difficult to imagine that in thirty years time, I would be around to see it.
My friend moved to Texas the following year (totally devastating by the way) but that tree remained. It grew every year just like her father said it would and now I can see it standing tall every time I look out the kitchen window of my mom’s house. A permanent reminder (at least to me) of the family who lived there so many years ago.
Would I remember planting that tree if it wasn’t still there? Probably not. It’s like how your memories become your photos over time. Physical evidence of our time spent on earth.
In honor of Earth Day, Lands’ End asked me to partner with them to celebrate the millionth tree they’ve planted through the National Forest Foundation. Rather than just dress my family in their clothes and call it a day, I decided to up their tree count to one million and ONE.
Only this tree would be planted in our backyard.
Last Saturday (which was the most beautiful day of the year so far), Mazzy, Harlow, Mike and I dug a hole in the ground at our summer house, went to the local nursery, and picked out a tree that will hopefully grow up right alongside my girls.
I didn’t know what tree we would get, but on the way there Mazzy asked if we could get something with pink flowers. I am so used to saying “no” to all her ridiculous pink requests (pink hair, pink food, pink nails, etc.) I was surprised when Mike said, “Sure, if they have a pink flowering tree available at the nursery, we can get it.”
It was that moment I realized this experience was more meaningful than I first imagined. Not only were we planting a tree as a symbolic gesture, we were showing the girls how beautiful and amazing nature can be. It was a reminder to myself as well. I’ve always loved pink flowering trees and it never really occurred to me that I could easily plant one in my own yard.
In fact, a few weeks ago, I posted a beautiful picture on @pinkinnyc of a pink flowering tree in DC. I said it was cherry blossoms but people corrected me in the comments— it was magnolias. I showed the pic to Mazzy (as I do all the our @pinkinnyc pics) and she immediately recognized the name when the man at the nursery listed what would grow well in our area. Deer is a big problem in Eastern Long Island and the man told us deer stay away from Magnolia trees which made Mike very happy too.
“Can we get a Magnolia tree, Mom?” Mazzy pleaded.
There was no reason to tell her no. I was as excited as she was.
We put the tree in the trunk of our car and drove slowly with it sticking out the back, the trunk wide open.
“I’ll watch it, Mom!” Mazzy yelled. She kept calling out if it started to wobble or roll. Mazzy, the protector of all things Magnolia.
When we got back to the house, the girls armed themselves with mini shovels and rakes, wanting to help out as much as they could.
Mike and I lowered the tree into the ground and everyone worked together to pile the soil back on top.
Then we watered the tree and admired our green thumbs.
If you are wondering who took the family shots, it was my dad (aka Poppy) who lives nearby and often visits when we come out for the weekend.
If you are wondering what we are wearing, you can find all items (including Mazzy’s woven sheath, Harlow’s cinched waist, Mike’s twill button down and my red suede loafers) currently available on the Lands’ End site.
I am so grateful to Lands’ End for reminding me of that full grown tree in my neighbor’s yard and inspiring me to recreate that childhood memory with my own family.
One day those tiny twigs will become big thick branches and Magnolia petals will rain down on our yard from above for two to three weeks a year. And in thirty years, Mazzy and Harlow will tell their kids— I remember when we planted that tree. We should plant a tree of our own to grow up with you guys too.
Today, Land’s End is offering a $250 gift card to one lucky reader. To enter, just follow the rules below.
2) For a second entry, tweet the following and leave a second comment saying you did so:
I entered to win a $250 @landsend gift card via @mommyshorts! http://bit.ly/1PifJ6h #IAmLandsFriendly #earthday
Winner will be announced on Friday May 1st.
Good luck and have a happy Earth Day!
And the winner is… Lisacng@expandng.com who would like to plant a Japanese Maple or Cherry Blossom Tree.
Congrats! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize.
This post was sponsored by Lands’ End but all thoughts, opinions, and love of Magnolia trees is my own.