June 21, 2013: A Sentimental Backyard Journey

The unused swing set I can't part with
I spent the last couple of hours in my yard. The high winds and heat required an extra drink for all of my flowers, plants, and bushes. I love my garden haven, but it does require some tender loving care.

Tonight I found myself taking several trips across the backyard to accomplish my task at hand. I was in every corner of sacred space tending to all things green. My watering journey caused me to pause and reflect on the life journeys that have run their happy feet through this grassy backyard retreat.

The swing-set stared at me as a lonely reminder of days past. I have been asked on numerous occasions to part with it, but I can't. It's a piece of my backyard and our life. The Little Tikes airplane is now gone and disk swing; long thrown away.

The hours spent on this playground which spanned two homes and fifteen years seems insurmountable. Ben loved to swing. With a permanent smile on his face, he would swing for hours with intermittent breaks to the fort or sandbox. He would swing Baby Grant on his lap. As they grew older, we would have "throw the shoe" competitions from the swings. The winner was the one who could shoe toss the farthest. Over the fence was a home run. I always joined in the fun.

Our backyard originally served as the neighborhood baseball diamond. Wiffle ball games were continuous. Our circle was filled with boys and our house, the hangout. A tree by the fence was second base and our neighbors to the north; not happy with the many balls hit against the side of the house. When it got too dark, we pulled out the portable lights. The games continued.

As the boys grew older and the landscaping started coming together, the ball field became a memory. A trampoline was added and then a hot tub. The swing set was then used by precocious teens to catapult into the tramp. The hot tub included early teen parties and girls.

Case in point; at the 8th grade graduation ceremonies at St. Wenceslaus, Ben asked if he could have friends over. Following my affirmative response, he announced to the entire class (90+) that the party was at our house. And believe me, they all came. Memories were made that night for Ben's friends in my backyard. His mom had a glass of wine later to recuperate.

As the progression went to high school and college aged boys, kids began coming in packs to "hang out" in the backyard. I would occasionally find cigar wrappers and beer cans that apparently didn't belong to anyone based on negative responses to my questioning and blank stares. The use of the swing set moved to exclusive use for private conversations between the opposite sex in the dark.

The backyard is empty and quiet tonight. Very quiet. One I have dreamed about for years. A beautifully landscaped backyard. A light summer breeze and a decked out patio. No noises from the hot tub or requests from the swing set for sleep overs or popsicles. Just me, my computer, and the peaceful sounds of summer.

So as I enjoy the tranquility and beauty of my backyard, why do I long for the childhood laughter? With a motto of never wishing time away or crying over the past, it's time to get resourceful. I will entice with food and get those handsome sons back home for a grill-out this weekend. A backyard full of laughs and sharing life. Just the way it should be.

My tranquil view of the evening


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