under the old orange tree.


{“Under the Old Orange Tree” is my column submission to this week’s edition of the LaFollette Press. As we cried and vowed to take back our motherhood in {this post}, these little orange seeds, as silly as it sounds, is a small way I am taking back mine. }

Where do orange trees come from?” they asked, one morning at breakfast. Since the question was not “where do babies come from?” I was happy to oblige. They had been on this huge orange obsession lately, literally chowing down on the succulent slices at every meal, and begging for another bag at the supermarket. Somehow, on our most recent trip, I happened to grab a bushel that was riddled with seeds. The children were perplexed, and came up with a seemingly brilliant plan—we will simply plant an orange tree in our yard.


I tried logic at first: “orange trees are not native to the state of Tennessee”.

When that didn’t work, I tried a hint of reason: “you will be older than Daddy and I are now if this tree decides to take root and actually grow!”

Finally I decided to try a little wives’ tale: “You know, if you swallow those, a tiny orange tree will grow in your belly!

But nothing deterred them from their dream, and at every meal, they began to slowly collect the seeds left behind in a sea of syrup that made its way, with no apologies, into the cracks of our ailing kitchen table.


The day finally arrived where they felt the collection in that tiny ziplock bag warranted an orange tree planting. Since I have never had the pleasure of attending such an event, I followed their lead, grabbed my jacket and a large shovel and made the trek through the damp and pale green trail to the barn and pond down by the way. Upon arrival, the locale of said hole was a fierce and fiery discussion, using weather patterns and direct sunlight as gauntlets. They finally agreed to disagree and chose a spot right near the half frozen pond, where they found great delight in skidding small rocks and tops of acorns right across and watching them come to a sliding stop , never to sink.


With help from the boy in the superhero shoes we used our weight to dig deep into the soil, to uncover fresh earth below. Determination in their eyes and with wind chapped hands they took turns sprinkling the small seeds into a frigid, worm-filled grave, covered them in their final resting place, and refreshed the spot with a half-empty bottle of water that came from the refrigerator.



Dusting themselves off and smiling with pride, it became apparent to me that they were not worried about the thirty years it would take for this tree to produce fruit, even if it ever did. They did not care about the dirt under their fingernails, or all the time it took to climb the steep hill back home. They know that all trees have to start somewhere. What seeds we plant today are not for ourselves, but for those whom are yet to come. They are a part of something bigger, something greater. That stories will be told, kids will laugh and play, toes will be dipped in the muddy pond, all under the old orange tree.


And for the remainder of the time they reside in our nest, oranges will always be at the top of the grocery store list.



8 thoughts on “under the old orange tree.

  1. What a storyteller you are. And I love that you trekked out behind the orange-seed-planting brigade. My middle girl also had visions of trees sprouting from seeds, and buried several in a row beside our house.

    Now, in front of the forest, there’s a straight line of trees that stand like soldiers for her.

    I think I’ve discovered an awesome blog today.
    Eli@coachdaddy recently posted…Guest Post: 5 Things I Want my Kids to Learn from Sports, by Christine of Love, Life, SurfMy Profile

  2. We live in Western Canada, also not orange grove country, but we have 4 – 6inch seedlings grown from seedy oranges. It has been great fun to watch their slow and steady growth with our two grandsons. Our latest project involves a date seed found in a batch of pitted dates. Amazingly, it has sprouted and we are watching the first leaf grow up out of the ‘trunk’.

  3. I love this! The girls have been loving Clementines lately, and we have been having similar conversations….except I was a mean mommy and threw out the seeds! Now I’m having mommy guilt and I think I’ll let them keep the next ones 🙂
    Aurie recently posted…Today.My Profile

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