Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Swing Set...


I missed them tonight.


I left work early this evening and picked the boys up from school where they waited with Lisa for the end of Mary's cross country practice. I took the boys with me to get some dinner, leaving the wifemate to wait it out.


We got some fast food and made it home with enough light left for a hearty football game with the neighbor boys. I assumed my usual position of "all time quarterback." A bad knee, sore back and twenty-six years the elder of my nearest competitor had surely earned me that. We finally went inside the house after a few spectacular (and not so spectacular) moments on the field.



The clock had ticked many times, but the girls were still absent.  Luke and Thomas finished up some homework and dispersed throughout the house. But, something called me again to the backyard on this late October evening, and so, I went. Perhaps it was the waning warmth of days that will quickly turn to something altogether different. Or maybe it was a heart that beat for moments long since passed away.


Either way, I started out.



I dabbled a little in the residue of a garden beyond its prime.  I kicked clods of dirt and stems that once held brilliant blooms and loosed them from their withering roots below.  I looked for signs of tomatoes, lately clinging to life.

I saw none.

But, I felt another beckoning back there in the stillness of the sun's softening brilliance.   As I noticed the swing set, I suddenly recalled late fall evenings some ten years earlier. I thought back to my daughter's more youthful years. I remembered climbing up on top of the landing just above her slide with a warm blanket and wrapping ourselves up together. She would sit atop my folded legs and lean her back against my chest. Sometimes her mom would make hot chocolate, and we would sit quietly looking to the heavens for signs of shooting stars.  Mostly we saw airplanes in the night.


They fascinated her. And my little girl, well, she fascinated me.



Something was calling me again to that ledge, and so I climbed the weathered stairs. Ten years of the elements had taken its toll on the splintering wood.  My legs didn't bend as gracefully either.




And so, I lay there in the quiet, occasionally interrupted by the wind's jostling of yellow oak leaves soon destined for their fluttering descent earthward. A white strip of cloud hung above me and quickly disappeared behind the darkening canopy of the night sky. I saw a lone star in my field of vision and pictured the eye of God spying down.

I wondered if He would be pleased with what he witnessed. 

And then, the first plane entered into the background-its red and white lights blinking rhythmically against the black. I thought of her. I thought of our nights together when she was a little girl and the history on that ledge.


I got up abruptly and descended the stairs, now keenly aware of the evening's chill.



A lone tear fell from my left eye-



photobucket.com
and I gently wiped it away... 

36 comments:

Tarheelsfan42 said...

i find this so ironic/i had a conversation with my mom about how fast i grew up and how those childhood memories fly by so fast. You reallky do have to cherish every moment with ur children.

S. Etole said...

Poignant but in a good way if that's not a contradiction of terms ...

Always a joy to see a new post from you.

Jeff Jordan said...

You are exactly right, James. They most certainly do fly by.

Thank you Susan. Always a joy to me when you stop in:)

Sandra Heska King said...

Awwww. I just wiped a tear away.

Jeff Jordan said...

Thanks for stopping by, Sandy.

caryjo said...

Remembering those sweet quiet moments with our young ones can pour blessings, blessings, and more blessings on us.

A Simple Country Girl said...

I reckon your daughter holds those nighttime swing-set moments very close as well. Having been raised without a father, I can only image the closeness between you two.

Thankfully I do know the love of my Heavenly Father now.

Blessings.

A Simple Country Girl said...

I reckon your daughter holds those nighttime swing-set moments very close as well. Having been raised without a father, I can only image the closeness between you two.

Thankfully I do know the love of my Heavenly Father now.

Blessings.

Jeff Jordan said...

I think you're probably right, Joanne. Sometimes I'm just wallowing in a glass that seems half-full. Guess I need to wake up.

And Darlene, girls without daddys is the one thing that really invigorates my heart. It seems lately little else does. I'm glad, though, you know Him. He's always known you...loved you...been waiting for you.

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

What a tender story, beautifully told, Jeff.

shrinkingthecamel.com said...

My little girls are now 15 and 18. I deeply miss them as they were when they were small- the memories continue to dog me. tough letting them go... and grow.

Jeff Jordan said...

Thank you for stopping in and commenting, Jennifer.

Bradley, my three kids are 12, 10, and 8. I guess we still have some time left, but I'm missing the younger years for sure.

H. Gillham said...

I do not have children, but I have eleven nieces and nephews... and the youngest is now 19.

I used to wonder what it would be like to see them older, getting married, having their own families, and now -- it's here.

I long for the days when I could play with them in the yard --- [when I could play at all -- LOL]beat them in Chutes and Ladders, and read to them.

It's too fast. It's too fast.

First visit to your blog -- I enjoyed this entry.

Jeff Jordan said...

Ms. Gillham,
"Too fast" is right. I can't believe my daughter is twelve years old. It has been a blink of an eye. I know what you mean about being able to play at all. I'm going to seek reimbursement one day from my boys for the knee replacement I need. It's their fault.

Thanks for stopping in and commenting. Come back anytime.
Jeff

Mitzi said...

Beautiful post!!

THE OLD GEEZER said...

I added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit mine and become a follower if you want to.

God Bless You :-)

~Ron

Deidra said...

Sweet memories. The years slip by so quickly, don't they?

Laura said...

And now you have me crying to. Just thinking of the two of you, wrapped in that blanket. Remember how well they used to fit in your arms? Sigh.

Jeff Jordan said...

Thank you, Mitzi.

Deidra, it has really been a blink of the eye.

Laura, I remember holding Mary in one arm with my hand under her head and her little bottom resting in the bend of my elbow-almost like a football and probably not much bigger. "Sigh" is right...Glad you stopped in:)

Anne Lang Bundy said...

I read this, and kept it in my reader to read again. Lovely, Jeff. Even more so after simmering a bit. Makes me long for my Father ... to see His face ...

Anne Lang Bundy said...

PS ~ And because He is a Papa, I think He is pleased with us so much more often than disappointed. He sees beyond the moment we are sometimes stuck in.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Karen said...

I met a sweet lady Sunday at church who told me, "How times flies. It seems just yesterday my kids were small and now they are 55 and 60 years old!" Beautiful post, Jeff!

Laura said...

HI, Jeff. Just dropping in to wish you a blessed Thanksgiving! I haven't forgotten you, friend, but it looks like maybe your blogging has become as irregular as mine :). Bless you this holiday :).

Jeff Jordan said...

Thank you for saying hi, Laura. Been kind of busy, but mostly just haven't been feeling too inspired to write much lately. Hope you and the guys have a wonderful Thanksgiving time full of memory making:)

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