Best of 2009: Swing like a Pendulum

The following post was first published May 27th. (And no, this post isn't in reference to my postpartum boobs.)

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 that he too wanted to swing. 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, awestruck 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... mind-blowing 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 swing set, about life before it gets complicated and I realize that swing sets 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.