Dear Shel Silverstein,

The opening page of my copy of The Giving Tree begins with “To Alexandrea, with love from your aunt. Merry Christmas 1998”. My first Christmas I was given a book, specifically a book that was read to me more times than I can recount. Growing up, my mother thought I was destined to be a child slightly behind the rest of the class in mental capabilities. To combat the future, she read to me every night before bed, typically The Giving Tree. Luckily, today I am graduating in the top of my class and I have friends and loved ones that continue to grow by the day. This book not only changed my future, but an inseparable bond between my mother and I has grown to the point where I am afraid to go to college without having her by my side.

The Giving Tree quickly became a symbol to both me and my mother. The book focuses on a tree who nourishes and gives a little boy everything he could ever need or want until he eventually takes everything the tree has to offer. As a young girl, the book touched me and made me cry for the poor tree who devoted everything to the little boy. Years passed, and I grew to learn that my mom is my own giving tree that gives everything she can for my success. Similar to the boy, I did not know how much my mom was sacrificing for me and my brother to have everything that we could ever dream of. She would work long shifts to get me the newest Barbie, or stay up long hours studying for college after she had already prepared dinner and put the dishes away without ever asking for help. The Giving Tree opened my eyes to the fact that I have been blessed with my own giving tree that to this day helps me with everything I need.

My mom is definitely the role model in my life. All my hard work and dedication is for her approval, to make her proud of me and to show that all the work she did for me as a kid is going to pay off. My mom gives me everything I could ever need, and in return, she only expects my love and appreciation, “the boy loved the tree very much. And the tree was happy.” The Giving Tree has inspired me to one day be as amazing as a mother to my future children as she is to me. I too will read to my children every night, regardless of how busy I may be or how tired. I will do everything in my power to inspire my children and make the world they live in better than the one I had. I want a legacy to make my mom proud, the same way she continues to make me proud every day.

The wonderful thing about a book is the fact that it is easily transportable. When I go to college in a couple of months and leave all my roots, I can grab my copy and be reminded of what I have back home. The handwritten notes from my aunt let me see how many people are standing behind me supporting me in all my endeavors. My young, colorful scribbles on the black and white pages let me see the beauty in having such a supporting and loving mother who has always been there since day one. Simply reading the book brings back the soothing voice of my mother the way she used to read to me in bed, snuggled beside me, until I fell asleep. The Giving Tree has left numerous imprints on my mind and soul, and I truly cannot thank you enough. This book has been the greatest gift for the past 18 years, and I know it will continue to be influential as I one day read it to my kids just like my mom read it to me. She is my own personal giving tree, and I can’t wait to be the giving tree that takes care of her when she finally needs me.

Sincerely,

Alex Montellano

Page last modified: April 14, 2016