The wind blows, strong, whipping my hair in to my face, pushing the empty see-saw swing next to me as if ridden by a phantom. The sun warms the air, and this summer day is perfect—the sky the deepest of blue-grays against the brilliant greens of trees in full leaf at summer peak. The air is fresh, not stale or hazy.
In her blue toddler swing, my daughter grabs the yellow cables and yells, “Higher Mommy, higher.”
“Okay. Where are you going that you need to fly so high? To the moon and stars?”
“No, to the sun. Hello Mr. Sun!”
I push, and she soars. I push, and she soars some more.
She waves at Daddy each time he passes in front of the swing set on the green and yellow John Deere lawn mower.
She breaks out into the ABC song, singing in rhythm to the creak of the swing set. I join her as I push. “Yea!” We both clap at the song’s conclusion.
And I push and she soars, the rubber soles of her tennis shoes meet my hands as I push. The wind gusts, sending the phantom on the see saw sailing into the sky to chase the scattered cumulus clouds that dart across the sky.
The swinging reminds me of my mother, who always loved to swing and who often talked wistfully of a big porch with a wooden swing. I remember taking trips to visit her mother in Jacksonville, Florida, and the front porch there. It was a wide concrete porch with four or five steps leading up to it. I think it had a swing; I know it had rockers and other furniture that my Grandfather had made. Sometimes when several of families were gathered, we would spend time sitting on the porch. I was too young to know what was discussed, or even to remember who was there, but I do remember sitting on the porch. I remember the colored aluminum tumblers that we had with us on the porch, filled with sweet tea or lemonade.
Entering Grandmother’s house from the front door, I would see a sofa (usually covered with an old chenille bedspread) on the left, and I would be greeted by my Grandmother’s two small dogs. One of them was a Welsh corgi. I’m not sure about the other. Off to the left, in my grandmother’s bedroom was a wardrobe. Had I been familiar with the story at the time, I would have tried to get to Narnia through that wardrobe, and I might have succeeded.
The kitchen seemed always to be filled with women, cooking and talking and chopping and washing. Dinner was served in the dining room, with chairs brought from around the house to accommodate the crowd. The piano from the dining room is now mine, and “playing” it a treat that my daughter has discovered.
Thoughts of my daughter bring me back to the present. I am still pushing, and she is still soaring. I notice her head tilt to the right side going forward and to the left coming back, and I realize that she has fallen asleep swinging.
I gently slow and stop the swing. Gingerly I lift her out of the swing. She opens her eyes a bit, and then closes them and nestles her face against my chest.
I do not know what she dreams as she sleeps. But I do know this, I am incredibly blessed with these quiet moments when I can relish the simple things in my life—fond memories of childhood, pushing my daughter on a swing, feeling her curled up against me, seeing her sweet face and long eye lashes as she soars in her own dreams. Life is too short and too precious not to revel in these moments.
© 2009 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.