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Friday, May 28, 2010

Time and Tide

swingset

I keep threatening to dismantle and donate this swing/slide set, to a younger family, one who will make better use of it, but every time I do, I find myself greeted by howls of protest.

Why?? 


(Hey Billy Pilgram, see that gorgeous ivy climbing up that there tree?  As I processed this photo, I couldn't help but to think of you!)

The children have long since outgrown it, and it lies abandoned and ignored virtually all the year round. I guess it is not so much that they’d miss ever using it again, no, it’s rather more about what it has come to symbolise.

We put this set together over eight years ago, on the very first summer we moved into our new house.  It arrived in a flat-pack, and took three grown men, plus the addition of a brain (modesty preventing me from naming whose) to finally work out how to correctly put that darn thing up.  We finally gave in and enlisted the help of professionals to install the adjacent, stand-alone Zip-line, (not in view) which has also become a rejected relic from our children’s recently out-grown past.      

Before living here, they had only enjoyed the limitations of our teensie, tiny London backyard, and I still grin as I recall  Beccy timidly asking me if it was alright to play out in “The Park” on her own.  I guess that is exactly how it must have seemed to them back then, an amazing adventure-playground, the likes of which they had never before known.                 

This play-set is where ten-year-old Matt carved both his, and the initials of his first love, in to the corner post of (which the eleven-year-old Matt later scratched out).  It’s where, on one autumn evening, eight-year-old Beccy slipped awkwardly from the monkey-bars, serving to break her arm, which necessitated surgery to mend.  Nine-year-old Sam needed  frequent rescue from the top of the fort, he had learned to climb long before mastering the more complex art of descent.  And three-year-old Abby had had to beg a hoist to reach up to that centre twizzle-bar there, and, ever the Tom-boy, she'd haplessly invented the perfect drop-roll from it, for ease of independently finding firm ground.

Yes, there is no denying this set has given us a full, loyal service throughout the years, sadly, it has certainly seen far better days – slightly askew and battered, it’s once proud frame today stands much weathered and worn.  Set away from the house in a secluded corner, it now largely exists invisible from both sight and from mind.

I know I should really pass it on to a second life, to one where it may continue giving blisters, bumps, bruises and many, many more years of joy to another boisterous, young family. 

It’s just.

There are so many memories bound up in it's timbers.  And much as my children have grown and changed, so too has the purpose this swing-set still serves.

Sometimes, when the lower garden is teeming, the BBQ lit, and a full company of friends are littering the lawn.. occasionally, only once in a while, I can catch a soft murmur of conversation drifting over from that secluded  corner.  The swings may no longer sweep and arc as much as once they did, but it seems they still continue to provide a valuable purpose.  It’s a comforting seat to console a friend,  a clandestine meeting place for young romance to blossom, and it offers a gentle, quiet respite to those who might feel the need to steal a few precious moments away, alone.

It's a curious thought, but who knows?  Perhaps, one (distant) day, my children's children might also lay claim to it, for their own happy use?

Usage may change, but much as in like parenting, if time dictates we must adapt and alter, that which is truly precious needs never be wholly rendered redundant.. 


Besides, this daft, old woman is already entering into her second childhood!

slide 
(Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh..)

So tell me, which treasured, but virtually useless valuable, do you hold impossible to part with?

53 comments:

Paul C said...

This post is as entertaining as an outdoor gym set! You also have it wonderfully positioned in the yard. And that rhodi, wow! We have a Barbi doll house that I built 22 years ago that we cannot get rid of. It carries too many memories. Then there's always the possibility of future use with grand kids?

Tahereh said...

aww this was such a lovely, sweet sweet post. i can imagine it must be hard to part with something so chock full of memories and experiences. i hope you never get rid of it. hehe

and you're gorgeous!!

love the photos :D

have a fabulous weekend, love!

Rock Chef said...

Yeah, some things are really hard to let go of. Maybe you should just pack it away and wait for grandchildren?

Michelle H. said...

Looking good during your second childhood! Great photos!

Can you really give up such memories? And the new ones created by those wee grandchildren that will surely come?

Reuse... reuse... reuse...

The Urban Cowboy said...

I would let it be if I were you. Too many memories, and like you said, grandchildren. Have a great weekend!

TechnoBabe said...

I for one am glad you and your children have this awesome bunch of wood that means so much to each one of you in each of your own ways. I wouldn't give this up for anything.

BRUNO said...

Many is the time that I, MYSELF, feel treated the same way as this ol' swing-set of yours. Obsolete, worn-out, generally in-the-way. Needs to be thrown on the scrap-heap.

But so far, everyone who's tried such has left with abrasions, contusions, and needin' a tetanus-shot, for their injured egos...!☺

San said...

Such sweet reflections on a swing set, Shrinky. I even had a hard time parting with a trampoline. At first we moved it to the field beyond the back yard, and replaced it with a hot tub. Finally we actually dispensed of the trampoline altogether, since we were afraid a child would wander over, climb on, and hurt themselves.

When my adult daughter came home, she looked at the bare space and said, "Well, I see you gave it to the neighbor kids." Over the fence she'd seen them bouncing on an identical trampoline. I was relieved to say, "No, that's just a coincidence that they have one. They bought their own." That was the truth, and I believe my daughter would have been hurt knowing that "her" trampoline now entertained the neighbor's kids. It would have made me feel funny too.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Well, whatever else you might say, SHE is a BEAUTIFUL "daft" woman ;-) Loved this Shrinky!!! I can't tell you how many items occupy our basement that are no longer in use...but hold such sentimental value that my son will not part with them...Isn't it too true?! Really lovely reflections, dear friend...I'm convinced you can turn ANYTHING into a wonderful piece of writing! Love, Janine XO

secret agent woman said...

I would have a hard time letting that go, too. I think you need to have reminders of times when your kids were small.

Phivos Nicolaides said...

I think, we never stop in our life Shrinky to be children in one way or another... Have a great weekend!

Star Child said...

Hi.

Great post.

When I emigrated last year, I parted with many items I previously thought I couldn't.

BUT, what I do treasure, more than anything, is the photo's I have. They are great memories, more reliable than my own mind.

chewy said...

If my bum can comfortably fit in the sling, I'd swing on that swing set. Wheeee up to the trees!

billy pilgrim said...

nice ivy!

as my ivy grows i keep remembering the day of the triffids.

Fen said...

I love sitting on a swing and swinging away all my cares in the world. That's if my bum fits, coz these days they're all made for kiddies bottoms!!

deb said...

You are gorgeous!!

and this is a fabulous post.
I think that your yard is big enough to just let it be.
We are contemplating the trashing of our bball net on the front driveway, kind of an eyesore and it would need a new net , painting etc. Our kids are devastated.

Geez.

We took our playset down to put the pool in years ago, but I think I would be in your position as well.

SJ said...

Aww don't give it away yet. Get one of the kids to have grandkids early if you have to.

On a unrelated note my brother saw the pics on your blog and was stuck by the beauty of the first photo. Then we started talking about the isle and he wants to know if there are puffins in Craggy Island :)

Land of shimp said...

Aw Shrinky, I think you should keep it. Although I'm a big supporter of donating that which we do not need any longer, some things do not weather time all that well. Some things aren't just objects, they are a part of our family as much as anything.

It's important to donate items that are still usable, clothing that is in good shape but outgrown, housewares we accidentally double up on (if you have an extra toaster, for example, that's a great thing to donate). But not everything is meant for donation after long wear, and it is okay to have things that are "special" for whatever reason.

We moved last year and rid ourselves of all accumulated useless things. However, when we were moving I came across a box of things that were from my son's nursery. The mobile that was hanging over his crib, etc. I probably could have passed that stuff on, lightly used as it was, but those aren't just things to me.

You'll know it is useless on every level on the day you don't have to battle yourself at all to decide to part with it. Until then, it is very much a useful thing, a gateway to fond memories.

That's okay to have, and keep around. "Useful" is not just about use.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Love you so much, dearest Shrinky!! You are a keeper for always!!! Janine XOXO

mrsnesbitt said...

I dont seem to get much blogging done lately, managing just once a week but reading here makes me realise how much I have missed the company of my good friends like yourself! Here we are about to travel over for a third year and I remember letting you know we were coming for the first time - my how time flies when in the company of good people!

Apologist In Chief said...

Something that's totally useless that I continue to hang onto? Heck, that's easy...my virginity.

*ducking boos and throwd Dr. Ruth books*

WOULD YOU BELIEVE...born again virgin?

Shrinky said...

Hi Denise, guess you must be getting all packed up for your imminent annual pilgrimage over to watch the TT races again, on Craggy Island, eh? Practise week is in full swing as I type! Fingers crossed, the weather is looking good for it.

Hi Apologist, thanks for stopping by! Ha, that old thing, eh? I've also been re-born again, again, and again on that front (wink)..

Kristina Hughes said...

Such a lovely post - you are a lovely mum! I'm all for a bit of Feng shui, myself - but always end up regretting it. The boys' stuff, tho, is different - we have a mouldy garage full of the stuff and never can quite make it to the car boot sale..!
Jude, however, is (not surprisingly) attached to many things... mainly his cot bed! He's 5 now and still fits into it but refuses to make the move to a bigger bed or let us take the sides off! One day, tho, he''ll need to upgrade - or I suppose we could just cut some holes in the end for his legs....... x x

Scott from Oregon said...

ummm... the hair on my head??

Joanna Jenkins said...

Wonderful post! I could relate to it so much.

We still have all the "baby" toys in a chest in the guest bedroom even though we are well past babies in our home (aka new grandchildren). But it's hard to part with them and all the memories....

Long live the swing set :-)
jj

Shrinky said...

Ha! Oh Kristina, necessity is the mother of invention, no doubt about it, I'm sure you'll hit upon a creative solution when the time eventually comes. Oddly enough, Sam was also very reluctant to forsake the security of his cot - it eventually broke - he was far too heavy for it.. we rigged up makeshift posts and tranferred his cot-bumper's to his new bed, it was far from a smooth transition, but it seemed to help..

What hair, Scott? (Teehee..)

Hi JJ, I think some things are just far too precious to ever throw out, eh? I made the cushions for the window seat in my bedroom, by stuffing them with baby clothes and first school Blazers - the cusions are lumpy to sit on, but look fine enough - it tickles me to think one day my children will find their old cast-off's from long ago..

mrsnesbitt said...

Hi Hun,
Thanks so much for the invitation - we would love to! Please e-mail your details ie address/contact number & the time you would like us to descend! Hmmmm are you ready for us? lol!

denise dot nesbitt at btinternet dot com

Alex L said...

Just replace the swings with a seat... bench thingy... like those things with the swingy seats... You may want someone with more technical knowledge than that to help you though... they swing, the seats... weeeeeeee!

So... keeping busy?

Eternally Distracted said...

Don't pass it on... It is fabulous and seems to holf many great memories

Mr. Stupid said...

Don't give it away. Its filled with so many wonderful memories. Great pictures....:)

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

I luv swings. I wish I had a swing.

Sling said...

I say hang on to it.
Not just for your memories,but for the memories of those who cherish it in that place.

Alexis said...

Shrinky,
Great post and lovely picture of you.
I have a rock that I found when I was 5 and I keep it in my sock drawer. It is grey and boring. I still remember thinking it resembled Mr. Potato Head. I will pass it down in my will someday....!! ;)

Shrinky said...

Hi Alex, we've already got one of those thingies in the lower garden (shrug).. nice to see you back again hon, where have you been hiding yourself?

Hi Eternally, yeah, I guess you're right, seems we're stuck with it, eh?

Hey Mr. Stupid, thanks for stopping by, welcome aboard hon!

Bob, you are welcome to come for a swing in our garden, any time, hon (x)

Yup, wise words, sling (hey, just realised, you rhyme with swing - teehee)..

Alexis, what a great story, and a great heirloom to pass on (though I'd love to see the face of the person as they receive it)!

Elly Lou said...

Does my husband count?

Akelamalu said...

Oh you HAVE to keep it! Full of memories and of course your grandkids will love it!

Mushy said...

Oh, can I come play with you?!

Alex L said...

Yeah I don't know when or if I'll be posting anything on my blog again. I've been busy though writing stuff.

Shrinky said...

Hell if I know Elly-Lou, he's your hubby, ask him what you get if you put two and two together (wink)!

Akelamalu, okay, you've convinced me (smile).

Mushy, thought you'd never ask!

Alex, that's a shame, I miss your wit about the place, but I guess some things have to take a back seat for the greater good - I'm glad you are writing - good luck hon, and keep in touch, eh?

Maalie said...

>So tell me, which ... virtually useless valuable, do you hold impossible to part with?

It used to be my wife but she got rid of me.

Shrinky said...

Welcome back Maalie, I have missed you, my friend. You have been much in my thoughts today, what with the horrors in Cumbria plastered all over the news. I am so glad to know you are safe. (x)

laughingwolf said...

very nicely put... :)

after dad died, i inherited his bible, and mom and dad's wedding picture, so those i'll not part with til my own deathbed....

Mrs4444 said...

Well, here's another reason to keep it: A friend and her husband climbed up in their kids' old playhouse to await their son sneaking out of the house late at night. She and her husband giggled like crazy up there while they waited. Imagine his surprise as he tiptoed past to hear, "Where the HELL do you think YOU're going?!"hahaha

~Babs said...

You look great in that fort Shrinky!
And you won't believe how fast Grandkids come along.Sometimes seems overnight.
I have no problem getting rid of things unless it's (like yours) sentimental kid things. I worry that the attic might someday be on the first floor with us, as it hold many, many very old toys, boxes of this, crates of that. I say keep the set too.

Pat Tillett said...

First off, I ordered and put together that same EXACT set. It was not easy to put together.
I took it apart and moved it once, and then left it at the last place.

Things like that do bring up a lot of memories.
Great great post...very nice

Shrinky said...

Yes, Laughingwolf, I am sure those two possessions are valued beyond any price, and understandably so.

Hello Mrs.4444, how nice of you to stop by! Oh, what a brilliant stalking team those two sound - I'll bet their little cherub's face was a picture!

Hi Babs, I'm kinda' hoping for a few years off for good behaviour first, before the grandkids starts arriving.. (wink) It's good to hear I am not alone where it comes to storing up boxes of junk - course, it's only junk to other people, isn't it? Some things just have to stay.

OMG Pat, really? Haaaa, yeah, it sure took a lot of cursing at before completion, that's for sure! I'm not sure if it sentimentality or more the thought of all the work involved to reconstruct it elsewhere, that prevents me from doing anything about it there.

Preity Angel... said...

lovely post Shrinky..

Shrinky said...

Hi Angel, how is your sweet little girl?

jay said...

What a lovely, nostalgic post! I love this part -

'and took three grown men, plus the addition of a brain (modesty preventing me from naming whose)'

Although I think I can guess! LOL!

I also love the bit about Matt carving the initials and then later scratching them out. Such is the pain of young love ...

What do we have? We have the lego and the duplo and the brio train set. I had such fun, spending many happy hours playing with the boys withe them, so they're all packed lovingly away up in the loft, ready to bring down for any grandchildren who might appear one day. ;)

Tgoette said...

What a heartwarming story about a beloved swing-set! What wonderful memories it holds for you! I can see why you would find it hard to part with it. I built a pond when I moved into my house and it's trickling waters are so soothing that now I couldn't live somewhere without one. Great post, Shrinky!

Stop by, I have something for you.

Shrinky said...

Oh Jay, I remember all those toy sets! I kind of regret it, but when we finally bit the bullet and dismantled the playroom, I was pretty ruthless clearing out all the toys there - it's hard to be a pack rat with everything, 'specially when you have four kids (sigh)..

Tgoette, something for ME?? EEEEE (hugging myself)!!! I'm trotting over as I type.. (grinning all the way).

Anna said...

Oh Shrinky this is like family monument, keep it, lol. One of my most favorite parts of the playgrounds, and even at home, were swings - I am still asking my hubby to build me on on the backyard, lol. Anna :)

The Blue Zoo said...

Oh, I love it! You need to keep it forever and ever. It has too many memories.