Keeping traditions have not always been my family’s strong suit. Although, there is one we established and have managed to stay true to it almost every year for twenty-one years. It all began on my first Independence Day. I was almost seven-months-old, and my dad had just planted a tree in honor of my new appearance on earth. My dad wanted to document me through the years, and the metaphor of the tree growing along with me would later mean something to me.
While most parents would designate a door jam or have a custom measuring stick to document such a thing, my parents went the unconventional route to document my growth. It used to bother me that every Fourth of July meant I had to take a picture by a tree, but as I have gotten older, I get excited to take my yearly photo there at my tree. I thought it was stupid, but now I recognize the metaphor and meaning of comparing my growth to the growth of a strong tree. That tree has weathered numerous storms and endured twenty-one years of taking whatever comes its way. The same goes for me and my life. I appreciate what the symbolism stands for, and I think my parents did something neat for me the day they planted my tree. Whether the purpose was to establish the metaphor or not, that is how I view my tree, and that is special.
Some years have gone by without snapping a photo on the holiday. But, for the most part, I have a complete collection to tell a story. There was never a pose or outfit I had to have each year. In fact, some years were taken in a bathing suit or in whatever outfit I was wearing as we headed out to celebrate. Nothing about my yearly photo shoot was planned. It just happened, and that is what I love about them.
My tree sprouted about the same time I did. And with each new season, a new leaf is turned.
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