Monday, June 2, 2008
The Swing Set
This swing set came from my son's first babysitter, who ran a daycare out of her home in Northern Virginia. When she was in the process of shutting down and needed extra money, she offered to sell it to us. Realizing the trauma (my word) of my son not seeing the babysitter anymore, I bought the swing set in the hopes of having some sort of continuity around and to serve as a reminder of Nhiem, the babysitter. I even disassembled and hauled it from No-Va to Mathews when we moved back here. I just couldn't let it go or leave it behind. I've had it for about 10 years now.
Both my son (12) and my daughter (9) have known this swing set since they were toddlers. When my daughter was a baby, I replaced one of the swings with a baby swing, and she loved nothing more than to rock to and fro, laughing the whole time, her incredibly soft, chubby baby legs sticking straight out, ripe for kissing.
Son and daughter outgrew this years ago. I've said several times that I'd like to get it out of the yard, get rid of it, give it away or haul it to the dump. Yet I can't really bring myself to do so.
Can I take a time out here and point out the tall grass sprouting in various parts of this picture? The grass cutting required to tame this is for the detail-oriented and requires a push mower, or rather someone who wants to push a push mower. That someone is not me. I'll ride a tractor until the cows come home, but push mowing and weed-eating are not something I'm interested in. And don't get me started on the mowing required to cut the bank along the shore line (located further back in the picture along with a glimpse at a tiny cove in our creek, although you can't see it well). Herculean strength is required to balance the push mower with the 90-degree angles and the stumps and sticks getting caught up in the blades. I'm starting to sweat just thinking about it. Back to whatever I was talking about.
The last day of school for us is today, and although time has definitely picked up speed the older I get, I have never experienced a quicker school year than this one. Even they say so, it's not just me.
This summer, my son will become a teenager. This frightens me for a number of reasons. First, in my mind I am still a teenager, so to have a child that age is not right. Second, he's old enough not to need--or necessarily want to be around--me as much any more. He's growing up. I can't accept that yet; I don't want to let go of the notion of him as a little boy who needs me.
This swing set represents a lot of things for me. Mostly I see Son and Daughter as toddlers loving it. And now it sits as a relic of the past. They are growing, growing too fast.
I'm clinging to the swing set like I'm clinging to them.
At some point I have to let go.