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I was at the park with my three children on Monday. When Emme was born, I envisioned myself taking my child/children to the park, and peacefully sitting on a brightly colored picnic blanket with a good book while my offspring frolicked about me.

Then I woke up.

I don’t think I’ve ever even sat down at the park. Much less taken my eyes off of my children to pop open a book. Park days are anything but relaxing. And they usually result in a strained muscle or two (mine), some yelling (me), occasional bleeding (again, me) and the necessity to down more than the recommended daily allowance of Excedrin upon arriving home (me, me, me).

Jensen pointed to the swings. “Mama, one, two, PUSH!” I reminded him that the last time I pushed him in the swing, he puked on his Bob the Builder shoes. He pointed again, more insistently.

Okay. Dutifully we headed to the swings. I’m here to serve. I wedged him into the rubber swing, and heard him squeal, “MAMA! One, two, PUSH!” Which I did. Over and over. Checking periodically to see if he were green.

Eventually, Emme joined us two swings over. I don’t have to push her. Her long pony legs began pumping, and soon she was swinging much higher than I am comfortable with.

Jensen was gliding in his baby seat at a pretty good clip, so I thought I’d take a little breather, and I sat myself in the swing between Emme and Jensen. Sitting. Now there’s a concept.

Soon, I found myself leaning back and stretching my legs forward. Then I leaned into the wind and tucked my legs underneath me. Before I knew it, I was swinging. Higher and higher. I cannot tell you how many years it’s been since I’ve sat in a swing. To, you know, swing.

Emme giggled, “Look at you, Mommy,” as I caught up with her. We were swinging in perfect sync. I noticed how blue the sky was. How the leaves in the trees were rustling in the breeze. I felt the wind on my face, and it took my breath away.

I had forgotten. All these years, and I had forgotten how freeing it is to swing high into the air. Each time I reached the full height of the swing, and just before gravity would pull me back down, my heart skipped a beat. And I couldn’t help but to laugh out loud.

And that felt good. That felt amazing.

I stifled the urge to place my arms in front of the chains, so that I could leap off high into the air. Just like I use to do when I was Emme’s age.

And then I thought about sprained ankles, and torn ligaments, and a daughter who watches my every move, and follows in my broken footsteps.

I slowed down by dragging my sneakers into the dirt. A habit that use to drive my mother insane.

I gathered my tired band of children, and we headed for the van.

It was a good day at the park.

And for just a moment, it was wonderful to soar with the birds again.


23 Responses to Soaring

  • There is a swingset behind one of the dorms at my college–I lived there a couple of years ago, and it was such a nice luxury to have a big playground-sized swingset in our backyard!!!

    One day, I noticed our college president and his wife enjoying the spring day on the swings!! As soon as it gets warm I’ll have to make my way back over there….

  • Ooooh, I’m envious!

    Ever since babe #2, I get seriously motion sick on swings anymore.

    And yes, I’m blaming it on pregnancies.

    I can still do cartwheels, however. The kids find that mightily impressive.

  • Okay, I’m trying not to dislike you right now. The park? On Monday? Where do you live woman??

    We are buried in snow ten feet deep and my children are CAGED ANIMALS.

    God bless you. ANd your kids. At the PARK!!!!!

  • Oh yeah. I LOVE to swing! But not now. Now we’re under various large amounts of snowdrifts. I look out my window and see drifts as high as a foot or three. No swinging for a while here! Once the snow melts, then we have the mud to contend with. Sigh. At least I got a glimpse of spring this morning with your blog!

  • Dee Dee,

    I love to swing, too. I used to swing in a tree swing at my grandparents’ farm and sang this song/poem every time….

    How do you like to go up in a swing?
    Up in the air so blue?
    Oh I do think it’s the pleasantest thing
    Ever a child can do.

    Up in the air and over the wall
    Til I can see so wide.
    Rivers and trees and cattle and all
    Over the countryside.

    Til I look down on the garden green,
    Down on the roof so brown.
    Up in the air I go flying again,
    Up in the air and down.

    Author unknown

    Laurie (who is currently in WV enjoying SNOW!)

  • I know y’all. We’re in Armpit, Florida. And winters really are wonderful. I do miss the snow sometimes. But as my dad reminds me, as a kid, I never had to drive in it or shovel it.

    Now, talk to me about the joys of Florida in the summer. When my brains are boiling.

  • I too love swings… just wish the seats in those parks were a little more friendly to a 50 something hinney! I’m wondering… wouldn’t swinging be a great leg and arm exercise? Hmmm?

  • Laurie,
    My six year old daughter has that poem memorized also. The author is Robert Louis Stevenson. We were reading his poems and, since she loves to swing, insisted she wanted to memorize it! I hear her saying it when she is swinging very frequently.

  • I have been wondering how I will manage the park when the baby is big enough to walk around. Not looking forward to that.

  • Oh Dee Dee – you captured the essence of going to the park perfectly. My kids are a little older now and can swing on their own and I actually can sit down for a while (just a short while) as they play. But nothing beats sitting spider legged with my daughter and giggling because we both feel like we’re about to fall out of the swing!

  • What a wonderful story, DeeDee. I can’t remember the last time I sat on a swing. I do remember it being just like you described it though!

  • Last summer I did the exact same thing next to my 7 yr old and he looked at me like I was an alien and said, “Are you sure you should be doing something as crazy as that?!”

    {…geez, partypooper….}

  • You had a perfect day… I love those glimpses of heaven!

  • I love to swing! I remember that we had a tradition growing up. On Thanksgiving Day, while the guys were watching football and we were all tempted to fall into a turkey coma, the rest of us would walk down to the park (I grew up in Texas) and play on the playground. We would swing and the younger kids would play on the rest of the playground equipment. It was so much fun!

  • Just for rubbing sun and parks and swings and warmth in my frozen face, I kinda hope a frog followed you home from the warm, sunny park and snuck into your house.

    Glad you liked your card. 😉

  • In my imagination other mother’s strolled by with their prams and precious bundles. I might have even had a British accent! I don’t think we even had a park bench in my SW Oklahoma town – but I was so there!

    I love to swing – but my bottom doesn’t fit well in those strap seats. I goosh out.

  • Here’s to more swinging with our kids!

    (And for the record? I think you should have jumped.)

  • Where do you live? I think the high yesterday was 15 degrees where I live! I can’t wait for warmer weather. I too, love to swing!


  • I have also swang along with my boys just this past summer. You described the feeling perfectly. Every mom should actually swing along with their kids atleast once, to find that feeling again.
    Next you should try jumping in the bounce house. 🙂

  • I love this reminder and think I will get my coat, hat, scarf, mittens, boots and earwarmers on and go have a swing myself…well, probably not today since just typing that got me ready for my nap. 🙂 I use to be the director of a child care center and my staff would joke that they knew it was a bad day in the director’s office if they looked outside and saw me on the swingset. Thanks for the reminder to play like a child.

  • You just described exactly the way I feel when I swing. I can’t resist. Everytime we go to a park, I have to swing for a little bit. The kids are used to it. I love how free it makes me feel. Especially in the spring after a long, cold dark winter!

  • I feel free-er just reading this!


  • I love this post! I can so relate. 🙂 Last week my husband and I took the kids to the park. My 3 year old was in one swing and I sat down in the other. I started to swing and felt like I was floating on a cloud. I loved it! My husband had to tell me to stop and pay attention to our son. 🙂