I took two of my favorite tiny people to the park several times over the past month. We usually go armed with buckets and shovels (and kleenex, just in case.)
Plans of building sandcastles and making weed, rock and sand “soup” fall by the wayside as we arrive. As soon as these two kick off their sandals they head for the swing set.
I get it. I really do. I recall a personal addiction to that sensation of forward and back and up. I remember as a child willing myself to keep sailing upward when I’d let go, imagining that with enough willpower I’d be able to fly. It’s especially thrilling when someone will “underdog” your swing and really send you rocketing, catching a little air at each extreme arc of the swing. Ah, those were amazing days.
The just-barely four-year-old decided that it’s time to finally learn to pump herself on the swing. She’s been working on it with her Dad and Mom at different times. I hoped that some particular magic that only Gramma’s possess might contribute to her success.
Sadly, no matter how many times we tried, no matter how it got explained, the idea of when and how much to lean back timed with when to lean forward just never quite jelled. I assured her that someday it would just naturally make sense, that she’d suddenly find that she’s sitting on a self-propelled swing. No need for “someone” to push her.
The last time we were at the park together, a week ago, I assured her that when I saw her again she’d have mastered the art of pumping herself on the swing. I told her that one day it would just make sense and her body would naturally move in cadence with the ebb and flow of the swinging motion. I could say that with confidence because she was moving to a new house with a swing set in the back yard. And, I wouldn’t be seeing her for at least three months.
Now it seems like I’m the one stuck on a weird new swing set unable to get the rhythm of the thing so I can enjoy the ride. That four-year-old moved way East, further east than I can drive in a day or two. Her absence, along with her Mommy and little sister and Daddy, has left me dangling. Quite frankly I don’t feel much like swinging, or doing much of anything. I feel homesick and heartsick even though they’re the ones who left.
It’s more than just their move out-of-state.
All four of my kids are now in four different states, spread out over a radius too wide for my mothering instincts to accept. I’m not sure when we’ll all be together again. I’m extra grateful we had some family together time in Colorado a few weeks ago.
I know, I know. One of these days I’ll find myself spontaneously feeling happy and lighthearted and not weighed down with missing them. One of these days things will click and I’ll laugh without feeling slightly fake. Eventually I’ll welcome the sun’s incessant cheerful rays through the blinds instead of shutting it out and living in a shaded dark interior.
One of these days I’ll feel the swing moving me forward and back, up and out, and my legs and body will follow suit, keeping life moving in a wide arc of joy and growth.
Until then, I’ll just try to understand and accept the physics of life’s forward momentum.