From Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul 2

The Seed

I have learned to use the word “impossible”with great caution.

Wernher von Braun

I have often been told, “You can’t do that.” Despite that, I always reached, dreamed, and wanted to do things that were said to be impossible or beyond my ability.

One day, when I was in the fourth grade, our teacher, Miss Parenzino, took us through the process of how plants grow. She cut open a dry seed and showed us how to plant and take care of it. When I saw the first sprout that came out of the soil a few weeks later, I was hooked.

On the day of that sprouting, I ran home all excited and burst into our apartment yelling, “Mama, Mama! I want to grow an orange tree. I know how.” I didn’t want anything small—I wanted to grow a tree. My mother frowned and said her usual, “You can’t do that, Teresa.”

I told her I was going to grow an orange tree—no matter what she thought. I was close to tears. She squinted at me to see if I were really serious and said, “Teresa, this is not the climate for growing citrus trees. It’s too cold here. Look . . .” She held up an orange she had gotten out of the refrigerator. “This orange is stamped ‘Florida.’ We live in New York. It’s warm all year round in Florida. An orange tree could never grow here in New York because of our cold winters. Maybe this spring you can grow some flowers in a pot.”

“No, Mama, I am going to grow an orange tree,” I declared. With that, I went to my sunny room and sat on my bed. I ate the orange my mother had shown me and saved one seed. I set it on the windowsill in a jelly jar top to dry. I printed a note and put it next to my treasure, which said, “Private property. Do not touch.”

Two weeks later, to my surprise, my mother brought home a large pot and some planting soil. She gave it to me and said, “It’s for your seed.” I gave my mother a hug that nearly knocked her over.

I split my orange seed and planted it. I watered it and watched. Every day I came home from school and talked to the soil in the pot. I begged and pleaded with the seed to grow. I blessed it and kissed the air around it. My mother just shook her head at me.

One day in early spring, I wandered into my room and looked into the pot. There it was! A little green sprout! My throat felt tight, and I felt like crying for joy.

When my mother came home from work that night, I danced all around her and kissed her hand. Amusement transformed her face, and her exhaustion disappeared. I dragged her to my window. She looked into the pot, and her mouth opened. “I told you, Mama. I told you,” I said, as she smiled.

I showered my little sprout with love. It returned my love by growing more and more. Green branches started to stretch their arms. Leaves appeared on the branches. A few months later, the tree grew so big that a decision had to be made. Max, the old barber down the street, was willing to put the tree in his shop window. Max and I planted my little “soul tree” in a larger container, and I continued to care for it.

I grew taller, and so did the orange tree. To my delight, my tree grew little oranges, and its beauty filled the whole window. The tree grew to be so big that Max had to transplant it to his backyard. I felt sad that my tree was now so many blocks away, but I had a feeling that my tree would always remember me. After all, I was the one who loved it so much that it grew where it wasn’t supposed to grow.

I no longer live in New York, but my orange tree still lives in Max’s backyard. It had started its life as a seed, and that seed taught me many things. I learned that I could do things that I didn’t think I could do or that others told me were impossible. My orange tree and the experience of overcoming the odds of growing it will always be in my heart.

Teresa Sendra-Anagnost

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