My daughter loves to swing. She loves to swing so much so that she’d be content to do so the entire time spent at the park. And many times she has. Since the weather has turned, upon coming home at the end of the day, I often change out of my work clothes, change her into the shoes now known as “park shoes,” and we head down to the quiet little corner of space by which we’re so lucky to live.
She knows when mama asks if she wants to go to the park, that the swing is there. “Swing at park,” she repeats to me, “more swing.” Yes, more swing. Once seated in the bucket, I hoist her high and let her fly. Immediately she breaks out into a smile. I watch her round face, curious as to what she’s thinking, her body carving a pendulum in the air, honey colored hair blowing about. Is she thinking of her day at school, or maybe nothing at all?
She’ll often point to the swing next to her and say, “mama swing.” And so I do. Instantaneously I’m a child again, kicking and pumping my legs, reaching higher into the clouds, quickly lost in the sensation of it all, sometimes leaning back a little too far. Of course she loves to fly.
After a while, I’ll ask her if she wants to go down the slide, and more often than not, the answer is, “No want it, more swing.” Of course, baby, more swing. So we swing and swing, and swing more, propelling our bodies among the trees and the spring sky.
My daughter’s room was my own private masterpiece. Every item was chosen in an effort to create a space that wasn’t too infantile, that allowed room for growth, but had character and color. I love her room. Despite my attention to detail, and calculating every choice, unconsciously, the images I chose to hang in her room all revolved around women. I did not set out with the intention to create such a theme, one naturally evolved. The image above her changing table is a black and white of Amelia Earhart standing in front of one of her planes. My daughter has always been interested in this picture, pointing to it, banging on it with her little hands. Each time she reached for the picture, I’d say, “That’s Amelia Earhart, and she likes to fly planes.” Now, when she acknowledges the picture, she says, “airplane,” and something that sounds like she’s trying to say Earhart’s name.
My daughter likes to fly on the swing, and who knows if someday that love turns into a fascination with planes. Maybe she’ll want to be a pilot? Maybe she’ll someday see that image of Amelia Earhart in a new way, a woman defying the odds, and think to herself that she too could do something like that. The thought of my one-and-only, high in the clouds, is both exhilarating and terrifying. Never would I want to be the reason she didn't chase down a dream, so in that moment it would be my charge to set aside what fears I harbored, and allow her to make her own way.
Her desires have yet to unfold themselves, and I don’t have the slightest clue what she’ll want out of life. Currently, those desires revolve around swinging at the park, coloring, reading books, and jumping on mama and daddy's bed. I hope someday she does want, that she seeks out that something that makes her happy, that something that makes her want “more.” Isn’t that what we all want?
For now we spend our afternoons, some of them cloudy from April storms, some of them sunny with the promise of summer, swinging, side-by-side, free birds, and we swing, and “more swing.”