My money tree

For years I wanted a flower garden. I'd spend hours thinking of different things I could plant that would look nice together.

But then we had Matthew. And Marvin. And the twins, Alisa and Alan. And then Helen. Five children. I was too busy raising them to grow a garden.

Money was tight, as well as time. Often when my children were little, one of them would want something that cost too much, and I'd have to say, "Do you see a money tree outside? Money doesn't grow on trees, you know."

Finally, all five got through high school and college and were off on their own. I started thinking again about having a garden.

I wasn't sure, though. I mean, gardens do cost money, and after all these years I was used to living on a pretty lean, no-frills budget.

Then, one spring morning, on Mother's Day, I was working in my kitchen. Suddenly, I realized that cars were tooting their horns as they drove by. I looked out the window and there was a new tree, planted right in my yard. I thought it must be a weeping willow, because I saw things blowing around on all its branches. Then I put my glasses on - and I couldn't believe what I saw.

There was a money tree in my yard!

I went outside to look. It was true! There were dollar bills, one hundred of them, taped all over that tree. Think of all the garden flowers I could buy with one hundred dollars! There was also a note attached: "IOU eight hours of digging time. Love, Marvin."

Marvin kept his promise, too. He dug up a nice ten-by-fifteen foot bed for me. And my other children bought me tools, ornaments, a trellis, a sunflower stepping stone and gardening books.

That was three years ago. My garden's now very pretty, just like I wanted. When I go out and weed or tend my flowers, I don't seem to miss my children as much as I once did. It feels like they're right there with me.

I live up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where winters are long and cold, and summers are way too short. But every year now, when winter sets in, I look out my window and think of the flowers I'll see next spring in my little garden. I think about what my children did for me, and I get tears in my eyes - every time.

I'm still not sure that money grows on trees. But I know love does!

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