The swings were empty, and I was close to tears. A wooden playset was about to make me cry.
It was ridiculous really. We only lived in the house for six months. (It was an in-between-houses house…we move a lot.)
But I looked at the empty swingset while I stood in the empty house, and I thought of my three boys. Brothers who have this amazing propensity to find in each other the one nerve in a million that is most easily agitated and then patiently camp out on it until it causes the desired explosive reaction.
During our months in the in-between-house, I’d often find those same button-pushing boys sitting side-by-side on the red swing, the yellow swing, the blue swing. Pumping their legs and laughing as though they were BFFs. I would smile and go back to working on whatever happened to be on my to-do list that day.
But now the swingset was empty. And I realized they would never swing there again. And 13 at the time, maybe my oldest would maybe never swing again period. And I was overcome. I wanted to cry, but I felt so silly that some chains with little plastic seats could make me so sad.
And I left 809 Ashwood Drive, like all the other houses we’ve moved out of, with a bittersweet feeling that comes at the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.
That evening I sat down to relax with an old book and found that somehow, Betty Smith put on paper in 1948 feelings I couldn’t quite articulate in 2014.
“The last time of anything has the poignancy of death itself. This that I see now, she thought, to see no more this way. Oh the last time how clearly you see everything; as though a magnifying light had been turned on it. And you grieve because you hadn’t held it tighter when you had it every day.”
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
And though I still felt a little silly about the sadness brought about by the swingset, I decided it was okay to let myself have a good cry.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.