The Swing Set

It’s a balmy 42 degrees outside and everyone is getting Spring Fever. Seriously, we have snow piled everywhere but the kids are just giddy and all the mommies are talking about warmer weather. This is the first time since November that we’ve had 3 days without a snowfall and we have all started to lose our minds a bit.

Right now it’s hard to imagine those blazing hot summer days where you sit at the swimming pool and live on popsicles. I am craving the warm sun, flowers and especially the sight of green grass. But the reality is I have 3 kids home with strep today and a snowfall predicted on Wednesday.

Spring will come; just not quite yet.

Cute Benj wrote a “childhood goodbye” paper for school that brought back so many happy memories. His disclaimer is that he had to make it cheesy/sugary to please his teacher. I love it.

I was a smart little kid. I was also the oldest, for the first two years of my life I was an only child. My mom would talk to me all day; she would sound out words until I learned how to talk, and then she answered my hundreds of questions. When I was three I became obsessed with swing sets. While most kids my age talked about Power Rangers or trucks or superheroes, I would jabber on about getting a swing set.

My mom gave me a big mason jar and I started filling it with change right away. I would do little chores for my mom and she would reward me with precious pennies, nickels, quarters, and dimes. I would ask my grandparents for change all the time, since I was one of four grandchildren at the time they would spoil me with handfuls of change.

One bright summer day when I was four years old, my mom felt like I had saved enough. She took me downtown to and old bank. I carried my giant mason jar through the revolving door and up to the counter. My mom lifted me up to the counter where I proudly dumped the hundreds of coins. After it had all been counted it turned out I had saved almost $150. I proudly declared to the bank teller that I was going to buy a swing set.

Before I knew it I had my very own swing set right in my backyard. It was a metal swing set with a slide and three swings. One blue baby swing and two “big boy” swings. I loved it. I spent hours in the warm sun climbing the ladder then going down the slide. The only problem was that I didn’t know how to swing. I loved having my mom push me, she would sit and chat with me and give me an occasional under-doggy. But I wanted to be able to swing on my own whenever I wanted to. My parents tried and tried to teach me how to pump, but I just couldn’t get it.

One day when I watched my neighbor swing. I asked him how he did it and he explained it like only a little kid could. I jumped on the swing and started pumping. Before I knew it I was swinging. I felt so free, like I was flying.

I now spent my days on the slide and the swings. I felt heroic and daring flying through the air over the sea of soft green grass with the bright blue sky scattered with clean white puffy clouds above me. In the winter I would bundle up and venture outside to brush the snow off the slide so I could ride into the soft fresh snow. Days were perfect on the swing set.

Things were too good to last. When I was five and a half we moved. I had barely had two summers with my swing set. I would miss my blue room and the big trees but most of all I would miss my swing set. Its big metal legs were cemented deep in the earth making it as permanent as the house. I haven’t seen my swing set since. I have swung on plenty of other swings and slid down even more slides, but none of them were quite as good as mine.

February 13, 2008



  1. Denise

    February 12, 2008

    Love it, Ben. Swing-sets rock!

  2. twoelves

    February 12, 2008

    Ben certainly has your talent when it comes to writing. Loved it!

  3. Katie

    February 13, 2008

    I am so sorry about the strep – I have had my boy home from school… maybe I should get him tested??? I missed scripture group.. see you next week! What a great story… very inspiring…wow!

  4. Ken Jr

    February 13, 2008

    Dear Ben,
    You deserve an A+
    Thank you for refreshing delightful memories of you swinging. I was afraid you would go over the fence! Someday, please write about digging out the basement with your Dad!

  5. Bonnie

    March 26, 2008

    That’s so sweet! Good job Ben for working so hard to get that swing set. Sorry you had to leave it behind.

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