Friday, July 9, 2010

The Treehouse

My daughter turned 24 last week, but it seems only yesterday that she spent many a sunny day way up in a yellow treehouse with her best friend from next door. Here’s how it came about.

A few weeks before Anna Marie’s tenth birthday, my husband and I packed her off to her grandparents where she would stay while we had a treehouse built in the towering maple in the backyard. It would be her birthday surprise.

The days unfolded and I watched the builder come and do his thing. What started out as a pile of lumber and shingles soon transformed into a delightful treehouse. Three windows. One door that bore the initial of my daughter's first name. A ladder, a porch, and a shingled roof.

We purchased pale yellow paint, and a quart of white glossy for the trim. The finished product was stunning. I couldn’t wait for Anna Marie to see it.

A few days before her big day, we arranged to retrieve the birthday girl. As we drove into the driveway, I reached over and blind-folded her.

“What’s that for?” she sputtered.

“It’s so you won’t see your birthday surprise too soon.”

“I can’t wait,” she chanted. “I can’t wait! I can’t wait!”

Guiding her out of the car, we rounded the side of the garage, where I turned her toward the maple and said, “OK. You can look.”

What followed was a piercing symphony of shrills. She hollered. She whooped. She called Anne, her friend next door, to come over and see this great thing that had occurred. They occupied the treehouse until the stars came out.

As the months unfolded, Anna Marie and Anne spent countless hours in and around the treehouse. I made lace curtains out of old tablecloths to go over the windows and nailed a basket of flowers to the front door.

Before long, the girls had playing “Little House on the Prairie” down to an art. I supplied wooden spoons and expired cornmeal for their cooking pleasure. As they “cooked,” they could often be heard singing the songs that make up the days of childhood.

The next two years found the girls spending a lot of time in the treehouse, but as her twelfth birthday approached, Anna Marie showed less and less interest. That was OK. I knew she was in that fascinating place between childhood and adolescence. Occasionally, she’d turn up missing and I’d find her in the treehouse reading or doing homework.

I don’t recall exactly when, but there came a day when she no longer climbed the ladder and disappeared behind the yellow door. Childhood’s brief season had ended.

But I still think of those golden days, and how I thought they’d last forever. Sometimes, on clear summer nights, I step outside and remember my daughter's warm chuckle, and hear the echoes of a thousand silly songs as they drift up and linger in the branches of the trees.

This post is part of Cindy's weekly series, "Show and Tell."

Also linking up with "Bigger Picture Moments."


  1. I always wanted a tree house! In my mind's eye, it looked just like that one, too. I have similar memories of our girls' playhouse (the grounded type) and their prairie playing years with the next door neighbor.

    It's a warm and fuzzy feeling that can't really be explained, only experienced.

  2. This was a dazzling story!! I bet she was just so happy. And I'm sure her memory of that certain day makes her smile and giggle with delight this very day.

    LEGEND OF MARY'S BEAN is my Friday blog.

    Have a great weekend.

  3. Oh, the Little House days. We had them around here, too. This brought tears to my eyes. Such happy times yet so bittersweet to remember and know our babies have grown up.

    Here's hoping one day you'll have the experience of being a grandmother.

  4. Wow....what a great tree house she had! I loved your story:)

  5. Ohhhhh, that was a sweet post, Dayle. So poignant and bittersweet. What an awesome treehouse! What a beautiful story. Susan

  6. I am sure her memories of that tree house are as sweet as yours and she knows how lucky she is to have parents that would create something so special.

  7. Beautiful story, darling tree house, the memories will last YOU and HER a lifetime and my guess someday you'll have grandchildren loving that special place too! Thanks for sharing!!!
    Debbie @ Cottage Hann~Me~Downs

  8. A beautiful story. Love the tree-house. :)

  9. I just love this post. Don't they grow up fast? I haven't gone to see Toy Story 3 yet because I'm waiting for my 19yr old to come home to see it with me. I'm trying to make our Toy Story memories stretch a little further. Have a wonderful weekend!

  10. What a beautiful story. I know your daughter will always remember that gift and will tell her children and grandchildren about it. I hope to give my children a tree house in the next few years. An imagination only needs a seed to start.

  11. What a neat treehouse! I always wanted one of those when I was a little girl.I know that your daughter has so many fond mememories of it. I love your blog too.

  12. sweet post! i know the feeling, my three older girls had slowed down on their 'playhouse'. then, we had number 4! luckily, she loves it as much as they did (and they like going in it with her).

    have a lovely weekend,

  13. Dayle, It's beautiful and I can understand the memories that it brings back! I still love tree houses (in my mind, that is!)

    P.S. I am so embarrassed! I didn't realize that I had published the title and not the content! Duh! :)

  14. Okay, this is the third time at trying to leave a comment...hope this works.
    I love your post and pictures. WE have a playhouse for our granddaughters...precious memories.
    Thank you for stopping by my blog.

  15. Beautifully written! Makes me want to go love on my three 3 kids a little more today!

  16. That tree house looks like so much fun :)

  17. that is an amazing gift....and your words and memories are equally as stunning as the tree house.

  18. Such precious memories. It makes me sad to think of my little girls growing out of their make-believe play!

  19. What a fantastic treehouse! Beautifully sentimental post!


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