We Planted Pecan Trees

My parents have been married 42 years and raised four kids, naturally, I am one of them. Growing up wasn’t perfect-

My parents have been married 42 years and raised four kids, naturally, I am one of them. Growing up wasn’t perfect– why do we even say that? Like that is a criteria that can be met. God doesn’t even use the term perfect for creation. He says, “It is good.” And that is how I grew up. It was good. We moved several times and I always had built in playmates. We were creators, dreamers, explorers. Sticks, and rocks, and balls, and rope were the brushes that painted our adventures.  More than once my siblings hung from trees by their feet, sledded down our backyard on trashcan lids and car hoods, designed and built castles, survived b-b-gun wars, swam with alligators, and created new sports. It was good.

All of us discovered our personalities and gifts in the safety and stability of a good home. I’m lucky. I told my parents that I wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer, an FBI agent, and a pastor. They always said the same thing, “Great. Work hard.” They came to ball games, concerts, plays, took us to church, vacations, camping, art exhibitions, school projects, I grew up good. I know this is trite, but I never wondered about my family. I never questioned my parents’ love. Stability and safety do that.

So it didn’t surprise me when my dad called a year after Tiffanni was diagnosed with Huntington’s. He was matter-of-fact. He needed to be, I was living in a fog (and still do a lot). “You know things aren’t going to get better right?” he asked me. “Your mom and I have decided to quit our jobs and come help you with Tiff and the kids. The kids need stability and safety. We’ll help you with that.” And that was it.

Huntington’s is ugly. It’s slow, and long, and painful to watch, I can only imagine that it’s worse to experience. It affects movement, mood, and cognition. I’ve noticed over the last four and a half years that every 6-12 months, Tiff takes a step back. It was eating at first. She couldn’t hold her fork. So we ate things she could hold like chicken fingers and sandwiches and corndogs and cookies- boy, does she love cookies. But then she couldn’t bring the food to her mouth. Her hands wouldn’t cooperate. Then it was bathing. Lately it’s walking. She struggles to do the routine. So we help- all of us.

My dad and I just finished building a house a few months ago that suits our family and lifestyle well. We’ve worked on other stuff for the outside lately. By we, I mean my dad. He just finished building a bee hive- I guess it’s not the actual hive, he’s not God, but it’s a bee hive house. He finished a chicken coup this weekend for our 10 Rhode Island Reds. Apparently they lay the best eggs and are the easiest to keep up with- who knows, I’m not a farmer. Next week he’ll plant the garden. It’s a natural transition for my dad after tilling the soil of souls for over twenty years. A couple of weeks ago he came home with pecan trees in the back of the truck. About 6’ tall and maybe an inch in circumference.

“What are these,” I asked, shovel in hand.

“Pecan trees.”

“Yeah, that’s great! I love pecan pies.”

“You get that from me.” He got down on his knees and broke the dirt around the roots that were trapped in a pot- simple tributaries that would grow into strong rivers. “It doesn’t hurt that your mom makes the best.”

“So, how long until we get to make pecan pies with our pecans?” I asked.

“Oh, about 10-15 years,” he said, like that wasn’t a lifetime.

“Fifteen years!?”

He laughed. “You going anywhere?”

“I like pecan pies, so I guess not.”

“Well, Me neither.”

36 Comments for “We Planted Pecan Trees”

says:

Your parents are certainly some special people. I saw your Mom’s post about the bee hives the other day. 🙂 I love pecan pies too! I’m putting in my request for one in 10-15 years. *wink wink* P.S. You made me cry again. But I’m a crier, so this will happen no matter what.

Jenny Hickey

says:

What a picture of love! Thank you for allowing us to experience the journey with you. Love you guys so much! Your lives and story inspire me to want to be a better me!

Becky George

says:

You did it again! Grand slam out of the ball park right into all of your reader’s hearts.
Your parents are some of the most genuine people. They ooze cool. Maybe that’s where the four siblings got it!
Praying for your family daily!
Beck

Susanne Cox

says:

Excellent~~
Your parents are GOLD…and yes, your Mom makes the best pecan pies ever! Count me in 10 years from now.
love u

Dianne Montgomery

says:

And I read the blog and said, “It is good”! Thank you Jeremy. You help the rest of us breathe.

Monta & Phyllis King

says:

The minute we met your wonderful Dad & Mom, we saw from where your strength and character came. Tiffanni is certainly surrounded with God’s BEST.

Lucretia Welxh

says:

Your parents are the best!! Wouldn’t take anything for their friendship and the memoirs we all have made thru the year!

Nicki McAbee

says:

Wow, Jeremy. Thanks for allowing us all in. So thankful for your parents, and for you and your sweet fam. Love y’all!

Faith Lacey

says:

What a wonderful gift your parents continue to give your family-themselves! Blessed by your writings! I look forward to hearing more of this special ability God has Blessed you with as the pecan trees grow!🙏🏻

Alene Bajalia

says:

As parents, our kids are our future.. No matter what becomes necessary at whatever stage in life to secure that future.. It’s easy to say, ” ok, Lord, I’m there!” Just as the trees will grow and produce the fruit God placed in them … So will you.. And so will your kids!! God is just awesome that way!! You are a blessing..

Rob Gamache

says:

Wow! I can only hope that I have given my kids a childhood that is similar to yours, and that Diane & I would be willing to care for our kids, the way that your parents have cared for your family, I’ve had the privilege of being pastored by your father in law, and now watching you guys go thru a similar situation is hard.
It’s your strength in God that makes the church strong. It’s you leading the way for the rest of us by your example, that makes us realize that it’s Christ in us that prepares the way.
I love keeping up with you guys, your in my prayers often.
PS. I planted 3 pecan trees this past fall.
Looking forward to your next blog.

Doris Green

says:

Another wonderful life story. What wonderful parents you have. Willing to go that extra mile. This is what I would call unconditional luv. How blessed. Can’t wait to read more.

says:

While your story breaks my heart for all of you, I am so happy God blessed your family with love. Thru it all, God is good and in control. Sending prayers for all of you.

Fay Etheridge

says:

We sure miss you guys at AFA…praying for Tiffany and your whole family! Remember God is Bigger than Huntington’s!

Sandy Shelton

says:

Praying for your family! It inspires me to be a better parent and wife!! Thank you for sharing your life with us!

R.J. Jennings

says:

Brother, im really proud of you. I look up to you and always have. Keep up with what you’re doing. Love you man.

J. Mark Frey

says:

Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the Lord is good!
How blessed is the person who trusts in him!

Like a sweet pecan pie – your love sweetens the bitterness that life can bring. Thank you for your transparency. I love you my brother.

Lynn Defourneaux

says:

There really are not words to express how precious your parents are and how much they are loved by so many. I am so happy they are there with you and your family. What a wonderful gift.

Susan Bethea

says:

I know you “see God” with this selfless act of your parents. A blessing for you and them. As a grandparent I can tell you it adds meaning to your parents lives.

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