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  • Writer's picturePaul Cotter

The Swing Story

Motion panning photo of child on playground swing

If it’s true that your life flashes before your eyes in your final moments, then I’m sure this vivid memory will be included in my montage. It’s one of life's simple, ordinary moments. Yet it’s a sweet, poignant one that’s overflowing with happiness and love.


It was a gorgeous late spring day. I was picking our granddaughter Lily up after preschool and she wanted to play on the swings before we got in the car and headed home. (A footnote: The photo shown above was taken about three years before the day I’m talking about here, when she was on a "big girl" swing.)


As we headed for the swings, I saw several of her classmates having fun all around us on the playground. And I noticed something else: All the other parents, grandparents and guardians were either chatting with each other or were scrolling intently on their phones – so they were missing the joyful spectacle that their little ones were engaged in.


I didn’t want to miss it.


I decided that I was going to soak up every minute of the experience by giving it my undivided attention. And I was rewarded beyond measure.


Standing behind Lily and pushing her on the swing, I felt the warmth of the sun on her back each time my hand made contact with her. I watched her back arch and her little toes stretch upward as she soared into the blue sky, her long dark hair flying behind her in a rapturous dance. Sometimes I would step off a little to the side so I could see a glimpse of her face – a fountain of unbridled joy.


Neither Lily nor I could get enough. I pushed the swing again and again for about 20 minutes, and I wished it could have lasted forever.  


But of course, nothing lasts forever. That’s what makes life so touching and tenuous and bittersweet and meaningful. That’s why I was so intent on enjoying our time on the playground while it lasted: a scene worthy of inclusion in the final montage, hopefully played back in slow motion to the Andante from Piano Concerto No. 21 by Mozart.



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