I took Magpie to the Manhattan Children's Museum a couple of months ago and we ventured in to a special exhibit on Japan. As I rounded the corner in the exhibit, I stopped short and was transported back in time. Right there in the exhibit was a model of a Japanese offering tree, the kind you tie wishes to in the hopes they will be granted. We saw offering trees outside several temples when we visited Japan in 2008. And they hold a special resonance for me.
|Children's museum offering tree in Japan exhibit|
We'd tied our own wish to a tree when we were in Japan just after our second miscarriage. Outside one of the temples we'd visited, we'd found a Nanairo-no-yadorigi tree. This is a particular kind of offering tree. Located near a shrine, the tree is believed that it brings prosperity and protection to those who are pregnant and hoping to conceive (the word yadori means “conceive"). Fresh with the grief of our loss, we tied our wish for a healthy living child to that tree. The custom is that when your wish is granted, you return to remove the paper.
|Mo tying our wish for Magpie to an offering tree in 2008|
At that time, we had no idea what a long road was in store for us, that four more years and five more losses would stand between us and Magpie in our arms.
So when I stood in the children's museum this winter, and I saw the offering tree while holding Magpie's hand, I nearly cried. And I was also filled with gratitude. Here we were full circle.
This time, I didn't need to tie an offering to the branch. This time, I could ask my girl to stand in front of this tree for a picture. I knew she couldn't understand why this picture was important to me, but I needed to take it nonetheless.
I am humbled again and again that we made it out the other side. That Magpie is here. That we struggled so mightily and succeeded. I am ever so grateful for this little one in our lives.
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