Thursday, October 03, 2013

Taking Down the Playground

Day #3

After 11 years of enjoyment,

the playground in our backyard came down.

My dad made it the week we brought Ellie home from the hospital--11 years ago.

He made just the swing part right after we moved into the house--14 years ago.

Who are those young people?

So it made sense that Dad was the one who took it down.

Three seconds after Mom and Dad pulled into our driveway after the 4-hour drive from Indiana, 

Dad had this much done all by himself.

I had envisioned the girls saying good-bye to the playground that night

maybe even a little photo shoot.


Maybe that was just as well

it is just a thing,

this playground.

It wasn't my girls' childhood.

Even though they spent many hours on it together and with their friends.

McDaniel and our neighbor, Suz who is getting her
driver's license soon.

It wasn't my girls.

Even though I have just as many pictures of it as them.

No, it was just wood

and rusty bolts

and a horse swing made out of old tires.

I can't remember the name the girls gave
the horse swing. [Sigh]

During that long week of no sleep and changing diapers and feeding week-old baby Ellie,

Monte and my dad built the playground.

Dad decided to show McDaniel how the slide worked. If I remember
right--it went a little faster than his back anticipated.

That summer, 3 1/2 year-old McDaniel was going through a "only-will-wear-a-dress" phase.

This distressed my dad.

She kept getting her foot caught in the skirt of her dress as she attempted the climbing wall.

Dad wasn't an elementary school principal for 30 years for nothing.

He just tucked the back of McDaniel's dress right into her Cinderella underwear.

Problem solved.

I wasn't as diligent--oops! 
See the perfect shape of one of the climbing wall cleats burned into her tummy?

Greatest Mom Ever award.

With Mom and I inside the house tending to Ellie,

Dad got the idea that maybe he could help 
"cool off" McDaniel and the neighbor girl, Suz.

So he decided to take the Elmo sprinkler 
and hose them and the playground down.

See the Elmo sprinkler?

Of course McDaniel and Suz were quite thrilled with the new playground especially with the added bonus of a water feature!

I guess the girls were getting quite a bit of air on the slide with all the water adding speed and slickness.

Oh poor, unsuspecting, smiling, Suz. 

This is the last picture we have before she sailed horizontally down the slide and half-way across our lawn landing on her belly, knocking the wind and half the life right out of her 4-year-old body.

She left in a silent open mouth cry.

You see the baby swing on the right?

It was one of those that had a release button on the bottom of the seat.

Remember those?

We had a young babysitter one evening who was swinging McDaniel and COULD NOT figure out how to get her out (since the button was underneath the seat).

She was too embarrassed to call us so she left McDaniel hanging (literally) and ran to the neighbor's house for help.

McDaniel told us all about it over breakfast.

Yes, the babysitter confessed to the whole thing when we got home.
So none of this shocked us.

My niece, Jayde, taught the girls a game called "Cherry Bomb" on the playground.

It involved one person climbing to the top of the playground, pulling the green crabapples off the tree and chucking them at the rest of the girls playing as they ran around the yard trying not to get hit.

And they loved it.
Now it is all gone.

Well, not all of it.

Dad left the swing portion of the playground. 

The part he built 14 years ago when McDaniel was brand-new

and parenthood, 
this old house, 
our neighborhood, 
this city 
and Ohio 
were brand new to us too.

But he added this:

From baby swings, horse swings, to porch swing.

My girlfriend pointed out that it looks like a heart.

I hadn't noticed--but it fits, don't you think?

Now it allows for who we are right now.

The trampoline,

and now the porch swing.

It all fits.

And the view that the girls got all those years sitting in all those different swings,

I have now.

And I like it.

(Except the crop-circle looking dead grass area from the trampoline).


  1. And time marches on...Love that you will have new memories on that cute red swing!

  2. Yeah, for a dad that will do all that and for kids that enjoy it for years. Love the new swing and the new (to you) view.

  3. Linda,

    Thanks, I do have a great (and handy) dad! That swing has been used a lot already.

  4. Love, love, LOVE this post! Time goes by so fast, doesn't it? Way to enjoy your life today!!

  5. Richella,

    Thanks! Yes, time is zooming by but we are certainly putting that swing to good use already. :)


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