By Randi Olin
It had been nine years since we moved into our house and acquired the swing set left behind by the previous owners. My son Daniel would climb the stairs and look through the telescope. He would see a pirate ship. A far away galaxy. A dinosaur. He would run into the enclosed “clubhouse” underneath the slide, the sound of the screen door shutting behind him. He would crouch down in a secret spot where he had stored sticks and rocks and grass for the caterpillars he had gathered. My daughter Emily would yell, “higher!” as I pushed her on the swing. Then, she too would climb the ladder and come down the slide, head first.
Today, my children are 13 and 15. Recently, I was passing by the window that overlooks the backyard and the sight of the swing set caught my eye. The last time Emily and Daniel had used it was during the 24-inch snowstorm a couple of years ago, when they went down the slide. I had forgotten it had been so long. Now, aside from when family friends come over with younger children, the swing set is never used. And that realization brings me to an uncomfortable awareness that my children are getting older.