Wednesday, August 18, 2010


When I was growing up we had the best swingset in the neighborhood.  It's not bragging when it's fact, I assure you.

My parents rarely spoiled us.  I mean every once in a while we broke the rules and it was super fun but it was probably only super fun because it rarely happened.

Our family held tightly to structure and routine and we only "got" something out of the ordinary if we earned it.  Girbaud jeans for babysitting my younger siblings.  An overnight stay at a hotel with a pool for raking leaves.  A trip to Pizza Hut for good grades.

But when it came to our swingset they went all out.  I've never even heard the story of how the swingset came to be.  Maybe I should get that story from my mom the next time we chat.  All I know is that my dad was in the business of selling steel and hardware and before we even knew to ask for a swingset there were huge beams being delivered to our house.  I'm pretty sure it was just leftover materials from some steel warehouse because the whole thing was never something you'd see on the cover of a Walmart ad.

Kids were always getting hurt on it.  Legs got pinched in the seasaw.  Bums got bruised trying to go down the too-steep steel slide.  In the winter tongues got stuck and would bleed a la A Christmas Story.  One time my then three-year-old sister flew off the back of her swing and almost landed in the lake.  No help from dad's extreme pushing technique, I'm sure.

But we loved that swing set.

On hot days we'd pull the hose up to the top of the slide to make our very own water park.

After watching the summer Olympics I'd climb up one of the bars and pretend I was competing in gymnastics.

I remember running out there after dinner on warm summer nights to have shoe-kicking contests.  There were three of us so two people would be the kickers and one person would be the announcer/distance judge.  Those contests lasted well into my teen years.

When we closed on our house last year I was thrilled that it came complete with a tree swing in the backyard for my own kids.  Nothing compared the swingset of my childhood, of course, but still something for my kids to call their own.

At the beginning of the summer Brian broke our tree swing.  To be fair, the previous owners had a flawed design of hanging the swing and it was really only a matter of time.  Better him than one of the kids, right?

I've been bugging him ever since to get it fixed.  Because he's not home all day like I am, I don't think he saw the value of the swing.  He didn't see what I saw.  A little boy with a swing as a friend.  A friend who kept him busy while his mom made his lunch.  Or tended to his little sister.  A friend who could be anything from a soaring airplane to a galloping horse.

This week Brian finally bought a new chain and borrowed an extension ladder.  So the swing lives to hang another day.  Since then, from 8:30 in the morning to 8:30 at night, I can look out my kitchen window as I wash the dishes or put together tonight's dinner, and see this.

After all three of us kids had moved out, my mom made the decision to take down our childhood swingset.  I was irate.  I threatened not to talk to her or never to come visit her again.  But, of course, that didn't happen.  Despite the fate of that swingset I still talk to my mom and we still make the trek up to her house a few times a year.

I admit, I'm a little sad that the grandkids never got a chance to experience that swingset.  I look over at the spot it used to stand and picture pushing my kids on the swings or catching them at the bottom of the slide.  Maybe we'd even have our own shoe-kicking contest.  I don't know though.  I was pretty tough to beat so I wouldn't want to make them feel bad about their kicking abilities or anything like that.  But it doesn't matter because none of it will come to be.

Instead my kids have their own swing to play on. Their own swing to turn into a water park with the sprinkler and blow-up pool.  Their own swing to use in crazy, made-up games.  Their own swing to fall off of and possibly get hurt.  (It comes with the territory, right?)  And maybe someday they'll even throw a mini-tantrum if their dad and I decide to take it down.


But I don't think so.  I think that swing's up for the long haul.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Copyright © Mama Nash | Custom Blog Design by Lilipop Designs