The Swing

I used to always say, “Mother feels best when everyone’s in the nest.”  Well, nowadays the nest has been mostly empty which is mostly good, but there are still lots of times when I am restless and worry about all of my “birdies”.

My youngest used to sit on the backyard swing for hours at a time.  She helped her dad rebuild the swing section of the outdoor play set because she has loved to swing and rock since Day One, plus these days she likes to build things and use power tools. When she was little, she had a green plastic rocking horse we had to take everywhere she went for the first few years of her life until she no longer fit on it.  Now, swinging is still her comfort but also her thinking and alone time (and even sing-on-the-swing time).

It would often aggravate me how much time she would spend out on that swing, even in the cold and rain, even during her college summers.  But recently when I looked at that swing from my kitchen window, I was sad to see it sitting idle and I thought of the song, “Puff the Magic Dragon” by Peter, Paul and Mary and it melted me to tears.  How I wished she was still sitting out there.  Memories of days gone by flooded over me.

Jackie Paper, the boy in the song, visits Puff the Magic Dragon by the sea and they have imaginary adventures together until one day, “Jackie Paper came no more”.  He grew up.  The dragon was sad, just like this mama.  But alas, as necessary, I did my job. 

Mama may feel best when everyone is in the nest, but they can’t stay there. There is an entire world to explore. They fly away as they should. 

By the looks of that empty swing, it appears my youngest birdie has successfully flown out of the nest, soon to graduate from college.  It’s a bittersweet time that moves me to tears and emotion as I write this.  But all mamas have been there, in the land of Honah Lee, just like Puff. 

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