Swing Like a Pendulum


We approach the swings with her on my hip. She's never been in a swing before. Not the park swings, anyway, so I am hesitant. I wiggle her legs through the holes, slowly as not to startle her or make her afraid. When Archer was a baby he hated the swings. He'd make this sound like he was holding his breath and then he'd flap his skinny little arms until I reached for him, rescued him, put him back on his bottom in the sand.

Archer was more cautious when he was Fable's age. He took his time growing up. Fable seems to be in a rush, pulling herself up and face-planting every time she tries to crawl - waving and blowing bubbles, saying "hi" in response to my voice.

Archer was always fashionably late. Fable on the other hand seems to be camped out in front of the dance, the very first in line.

So it wasn't at all surprising to me that when I let go of her, today, she smiled.


And when I pushed her in the swing she laughed. She laughed so hard I thought she'd cry.


And after that - after the initial high-pitched joy waned and wore, she cooed and hummed like she'd been swinging all her life, like the motion was nothing new, old news, my professional glider.


And for the next twenty minutes, back and forth she went, Archer running around the park, every now and then wandering toward the swings to check on his sister. Until he decided he wanted to swing, too. Climbed (with my help) onto the swing beside her and asked me to push him higher, Mommy. No, higher! HIGHER!

Left hand pushing Archer, right hand pushing Fable I stood for a moment, awstruck that: Fucking A, man. This is my life. These are my children and I'm pushing them and they're laughing and smiling and happy and I am responsible for that and holy shit, I'm making these two amazing, beautiful little people laugh, like this is the greatest day of their lives and maybe it is... which... mindblowing to think...

I must never cease pushing them in the swings, I thought. High enough so that they giggle but not too high so that they're safe.


I think, now, about the post I wrote months ago. The one about Archer under the swingset, about life before it gets complicated and I realize that swingsets in sandy parks are to my life as a mother what long drives with a rolled-down window and a pack of cigarettes were to my pre-baby self. Strip away the smokes and the sand and the only difference is wind and whose hair it's tousling.


The wind isn't in my hair anymore. Not in the same way it used to be with the sunroof open and all the windows.

And yet? By watching my children swing back and forth today, their laughter breaking like waves in overlap, I was able to see myself far more clearly than I ever did or could have in the rear-view mirror of my old silver car.


Back and forth,
forward and backward,
again and again,
rock-a-bye babies.

They swing like a pendulum.
And my hair blows fiercer than it ever did before.

GGC

63 comments:

Bea | 11:31 PM

hard to imagine a more perfect afternoon :)

Tiana Barbaza-Cousineau | 11:48 PM

For some reason I cried when reading this. It's so beautiful. I agree with Bea. :)

It reminds me of the afternoons I used to have with my younger brother, pushing him in the swings on hot, sunny days.

For the record, that is a kickass playground.

You're the best, Rebecca. You're my hero.

Elena | 2:39 AM

still...don't you ever miss some moments of peace, smoking one cigarette after another, drinking bacardi cola and chatting with friends in a bar without having to worry about bedtime?
I am new at this motherhood thing, I am 29 with an 8 month son (I am young for standards in Greece). It s absolute happiness and absolute madness at the same time for me.
I wonder if i will ever make it...
Elena

MamaNeena | 4:49 AM

Your positive outlook is amazing contagious.

tigerleo | 5:08 AM

I have always wanted kids of my own, and reading your posts always makes me want them that little bit more. But today my uterus exploded.

mrs.notouching | 5:10 AM

The best. Are you sure you don't have time for one more book?

Christina | 5:47 AM

Just put my son on a sing for the very first time on Mothers Day. He is now 9 months old and I cant believe how fast hes gwowing. I couldnt stop taking pics of his as he swung. He even went down the slide. its insane to think that just 9 mos ago they were in your belly and now they are out in the world, learning new things every day and taking chances (crawling, then walking, then leaving you for college). In fact I used to dread his belly button falling off. I would half jokingly say to people, once his belly button falls off, then the next thing wil be college. And its so true. As my mom once put it, they learn to walk and eventually walk right out of your arms into the world. Beautiful yet sad at the same time. Childhood is glorious. I try to remember to take it all in and enjoy every single day with my little big man.

Christina

Michelle | 5:54 AM

Absolutely beautiful!

Molly | 6:07 AM

Beautiful! Wonderful age gap for the kiddies. I am mom to a 9 month old daughter and she loved the baby swing on memorial day! Captured numerous photos...just curious as to what settings do you use on your camera? And how do you get them to look so vintage-like? Your pics on here come out striking.
Love your blog! Love Drooling Closet! Wish Miami had Cali clothes sometimes...off to Ebay I go.

Desiree Fawn | 6:26 AM

beautiful, beautiful.
I had a moment like this when I first heard Gretchen laugh. I DID THAT. I made you and now I made you laugh and you area happy.
Oh my word.

Meg | 6:38 AM

One request Rebecca, please stop making me cry at work!! Truthfully, I loved this because I agree, there are unexpected moments of motherhood where you step outside of yourself and realize this is your life, and it's amazing. I loved this. Thanks for making my morning.

Anonymous | 6:38 AM

all i can say is WOW. you're writing rocks!!! heading to amazon.com now to buy your book... the words you write are amazing and i feel as if you are speaking directly from my thoughts. you just know how to capture them more perfectly than i ever could! you ROCK ROCK ROCK!!! thank you!

Adrianne | 6:49 AM

Amazing photos! You can really see Fable's little personality starting to blossom (yes, even just in pictures). She lights up the screen:) And Archer. What a sweet, sweet boy checking in on his little sister! You are one truly blessed lady.

Beth | 7:01 AM

I don't ever comment, but? You always remind me how beautiful being a mom can be. I love how you don't take for granted the small things in your children's lives.
You make me a better mom. Because today, when I am pushing my kids on the swings, I'll be enjoying every. second. of it.
Thank you.

Anonymous | 7:11 AM

your blog is a huge breath of fresh air, and that is a massive compliment in this overly complicated world.

thank you!!

Jenn | 7:14 AM

So sweet and touching....what a great time for you and your babies! :)

Luann | 7:21 AM

I would blow up that third picture to poster size and plaster my walls with her. She is absolutely stunningly beautiful.

A childs laughter is the best sound in the world

Jenny.Lee | 7:21 AM

Sheer perfection. Your children are beautiful.

pamela | 7:36 AM

i love your writing. i love reading what i feel and think. it's nice to have it put in words.

Amanda | 7:57 AM

I the way you put things in perspective with words. You've got a way with 'em for sure!

EvilCleopatra | 8:00 AM

I'm actually the opposite of TigerLeo. I've never been sure if kids are in my future (i'm still young yet, only 23) But I stumbled across your blog about a month ago, and your writing is so beautiful & expressive and you're my kinda rocker lady. Posts like this make me want to have kids too!

Angie | 8:09 AM

You are an amazing writer...I love reading your posts. This one just gave me chills..

Sarcastica | 8:21 AM

I love coming here to read your posts because you never fail to suck me into the moment, you're so talented!

I finally got a hold of - and read - your book a while back, it was AWESOME!

Mme Paulita | 8:25 AM

well done! love!!!
my son is the quiet one and the daughter is the balls to the wall one...so I totally get it

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com | 8:39 AM

What a wonderful, wonderful day at the park. It's mindblowing to think of the memories they'll have from moments like this, and how they will parallel and somehow also be entirely different from your memories of them =)

Liz | 8:43 AM

Taking a day off tomorrow to spend the day with my 3 year old...sooooo going to the playground! BEAUTIFUL post. Thank you.

tyKa | 8:46 AM

Your little girl is so delicious! Where do you get all those wonderful leggings? When my baby is born in the fall, I want to dress him or her in onesies and leggings too. It seems so convenient and comfy, not to mention adorable.

Lindsey | 9:00 AM

Amazing, again! I keep putting off getting your book (just because I'm a little broke) and now I just have to have it.

Also, please don't think this too weird sounding, but every time you post I'm totally like: HONEY LOOK AT FABLE. My future baby totally wants to borrow your baby's clothes!

Jasie | 9:26 AM

I love the way you write about your little people. It never ceases to put a smile on my face... my son is a little older (almost 8) and deals with bipolar disorder... it's really easy to get caught up in the stressful day to day moments of navigating life with a child with a mental illness. It's freakishly easy to forget to smile and let the wind blow through your hair and just LAUGH. We're working on this.

Amanda | 9:33 AM

I absolutely LOVED and identified wholly with this post.

I'm perpetually trying to explain the feeling you wrote to my childless (and the vast majority are childless since I'm 21) friends when they inquire.

It's good to know I have a resource to point them to when I'm out of breath.

EdenSky | 9:34 AM

Could you stop writing such beautiful posts? You're making me feel like a terrible mother. Nevermind, carry on.

Karen Dietrich | 9:35 AM

Is anyone else super jealous of Fable's legwarmers? I'm in love :)

spicylikeginger | 11:02 AM

I agree with TigerLeo, and with all the others who express how this blog is uplifting and inspiring. Ditto Ditto Ditto.

And ps - I heard your book plugged and an excerpt read out loud on "Here and Now" on NPR this morning. The story was called, "Bad Parenting", and WE all know you are a fantastic parent. But it was good to hear you get some press. And, the excerpt they read was about when you discovered you were 1st pregnant w Archer. And they said it was honest. Which it is. Which is why we love you.

Ashley | 11:29 AM

Love the pictures as always! She looks so cute with the leg warmers and her striped hat on!!

Loukia | 12:09 PM

Just lovely... and so, so true. My favourite thing to do now is push my boys in the swings at the park near our house. It's just perfection. The perfect after dinner thing to do. Both of them laughing and having so much fun it makes me laugh and get giddy with excitement! Love this post! As usual.

Visible Voice | 12:12 PM

Those cute cute chubby legs with her little leg warmers are the most adorable thing ever! So cute!

www.visiblevoice.ca

Charlotte | 12:22 PM

Dude, those pics are amazing! Love Fable's hat which matches Little Miss Kickboxer's fave jacket, BTW. And yeah, I think I get what you're saying.

So glad you've got swings in your parks. I'm trying to find one up here that does.

Ray | 1:29 PM

Reading this I couldn't help but thing maybe they're right. Maybe people are right when they say that, “Having children gives you a bigger purpose. That having children gives you a meaning to your life." Maybe it's true because the way you write you make parenthood sound spectacular. Like your past life has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on your life as a mother. Your children are absolutely beautiful; inside and out, and so are you! I don't think I'll ever find another writer with your kind of style. You truly have a special gift. There are a lot of good writers out there; yes, but NONE have your kind of FLAIR!

Please print these entries out to put into a book to show Archer & Fable one day! =o)

Take care, Rebecca.

Ray | 1:42 PM

OH AND: Fable's hat? ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE ON HER! ;o) Also I'm with (9th commmenter) Molly: How DO you get your photos to look vintage-like? And please do tell: what camera are you using??

petite gourmand | 2:14 PM

I never thought of the park quite like that before.
thank-you for this.

Adrianne | 2:28 PM

Ray, I think you just change the contrast settings on your camera...either that or one the photo itself. I could be wrong though:)

jjlibra | 2:51 PM

in a world of "i'm a terrible mom and i hate having kids" you actually say the things i'm feeling most. i love having kids. i have friends who think i need to get out more but i am HAPPY when i'm with my children. yes they drive me nuts. yes it's hard work. yes i don't have all the answers. but yes i do absolutely love it. glad to hear someone else shares this feeling aside from the crazy 'perfect' stepford wives who are obsessed with their kids. i'm obsessed, don't get me wrong, but obsessed in a different way. i think you understand what i'm trying to say.

SP | 4:13 PM

I'm a new reader here but she sounds like her Momma. Ready grab the world by it's ass and enjoy the ride.

P.S. I love reading your blog. The wonder and joy you describe is contageous. You amaze me!

mommica | 4:57 PM

Don't they just make you feel so helpless and strong at the same time?

Anonymous | 5:24 PM

Reading this post I can feel the fresh air about me and hear the giggles that swing back and forth.

Thanks for the vacation from my cubicle! hee~

Wanderluster | 6:18 PM

Fantastic touching post and I can hear Fable's laugh just by looking at those pics. I'm a new mom to Chloe and am still waiting to give her that 'greatest day in her life' feeling. I hope when it happens that I'm blown away by it as much as you were. I love your blog!

Geordy and Pete | 8:05 PM

you are an inspiration both as a woman and a mummy.
x

Jessi | 8:37 PM

The simple and small things are the memories we carry always. With my children, 8 and 3, I remember running to exhaustion chasing a just walking baby, pushing the swing forever, catching at the bottom of the slide. The little things are the best things.

Lexie Loo & Dylan Too | 10:17 PM

That is absolutely adorable!!!

GingerB | 3:53 PM

Right now my greatest joy comes in walking up to my 9 month old who kicks her feet and squeals with delight and giggles and then stuffs her hand in her mouth, like I am the most joyous thing she has ever set eyes on and she can't wait to see what happens next. I LOVE IT. And I love the way you love your timem with your kids. You and your family rock, Rebecca. Oh yeah, they are attractive too.

nic @mybottlesup | 6:30 PM

sweet lord, if i have any more children i want you to dress them please.

Dani in Indiana | 7:59 AM

I'm curious about the summer jumper paired with the winter hat and leg warmers. Is it for warmth, or is it for fashion? You're the second LA mom I've seen do that.

jjlibra | 8:31 AM

question...why are there three children in the picture in your blog title?

bluejeanamy | 11:26 AM

i'm speechless over the leg warmer/hat combo. must go die from cuteness o.d.

Jayme | 12:48 PM

You put words to the way I feel every day! I am constantly amazed at how beautifully you describe the world as a mom...the way I see it, too! Thank you for your kick a$$ bloggin!

Kara | 9:16 AM

So when I saw the picture of your daughter, I'm thinking why is she wearing shorts in the winter? Because clearly the (super cute) stocking cap goes with the white stuff on the ground, but oh wait, you don't live in Minnesota like I do, and good for you for that! :) Great post- the grass is green on the mom side of the fence if you remember to think of it that way, isn't it?!

maggie, dammit | 4:56 AM

Perfectly crafted; I get it, though -- that's not the kind of perfection that mattered on this day. Beautiful.

LiteralDan | 12:21 PM

My kids were just the same way when introduced to swings. Even now that he's 5, my son still doesn't like it if I push him too high or too suddenly.

My (2YO) daughter I could push all the way around over the top and she's be laughing and panting like it was the world's best rollercoaster. I think we may be in for trouble with that one.

Carly | 12:49 PM

I love this.

Stacy :) | 9:36 AM

I was having a really bad day, and then I.pulled.this.up. Thank you.

Shamelessly Sassy | 6:16 PM

I love my daughter, but right now, just for tonight, I would give anything to have the camaro I drove as a teen back. I would for sure roll the non-automatic, hand-crank windows down and smoke a whole pack of menthol cigarettes while inevitably going nowhere.

auntie | 10:18 PM

beautiful post and even more beautiful children! i love love LOVE Fable's chubby little legs. LOVE, i tell you.

Rock and Roll Mama | 9:11 PM

WORD. Holy Shit. That is all. I love this.