Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bigger Picture Moment: Swinging as Adventure

Mia stayed inside, nursing a dramatically smashed finger.  It was SO smashed and sore that there could be no question of her venturing outdoors to play; what if it got hurt more?!  What if dirt got into the cut?!

But Lauren was desperate to go out, and I agreed.  Our grass was finally visible again after the snow melted away, the wind was roaring through the forest trees, and the sun was shining.  It was warm.  Beautiful.  We ran across the yard, aiming for our inevitable destination: the swings. 

This girl loves to swing.  It's her first hope upon exiting the house, and her tantruming wail as we come back inside.  And I love that she loves swinging, but...I worry that she isn't getting the full outdoor experience by limiting herself to the swings.  I worry that her creativity will fall behind.  I worry that I'll be stuck pushing her forever, wondering when she'll run off to explore. 

Still, I pushed.  I couldn't deny her this favorite activity after weeks of being snow-stuck inside.  She flew silently for the most part, gazing at the sky.  After my arms began to tire, I sat myself down on the swing next to her.  Together, we rocked back and forth in rhythm, her smiling and laughing, me relaxing. 

"Mama!  I want to swing with YOU!" she yelled.

Out of her baby swing (which still hasn't been taken down, even though she's a far cry from a baby...), I plopped her on my lap.  I looped my arms around the chains, crossed my hands over her chest and belly.  So slowly, we started.  She was nervous -- she felt too free, too uncontained.  I was a little careful as well -- it would be terribly easy for her to tilt one way or the other and roll from my lap to the ground.

But as we swung higher, we both relaxed.  Our hands wandered to the chains and held on there, instead of to each other.  The wind pushed and pulled us, the blue sky framed our feet, and we flew.  The higher we went, the further back we leaned until we seemed to be falling over backwards, tumbling under clouds.  She squealed and begged for more, detailing how she loved the blue sky and the windy clouds.  How she loved mama for holding her 'upside-down' and how she was having so much fun. 

Just Lauren and Mama. 

Just swinging.

And it occurred to me that swinging is an exploration.  It's not a limitation of glorious outdoor possibilities.  It's an embracing of those things.

It just takes a toddler to force me to see it: adventure and wonder are all in the eyes of the beholder. 

We're finding the Bigger Picture through our simple moments -- moments that force us to take notice of the ways our worlds are important, meaningful, and beautiful.  Please join us at Melissa's place for more moments, and to share your own!


  1. Oh, how delightful! Swinging with my boys is one of my favorite things :)

  2. Such a wonderful description. An adventure for sure! I could almost smell the wet grass and the feel the bright blue sky against my face while pushing and pumping my legs in total freedom. Ahhhhhhh.... An adventure!

  3. The other day I took the girls to the playground, they played, and *I* spent the entire time swinging. There is nothing so beautiful and freeing. Do you know the Stevenson poem from "A Child's Garden of Verses?" Oh, how I love to go up in a swing, up in the sky so blue... I can't stop myself from reciting it every time. Swinging is lovely no matter how old you are.

  4. I <3 this moment, Sarah. Because you were so in it. You were immersed. I have a hunch she'll remember it, too.
    {Some of my best ideas come when I'm swinging -- creativly speaking. Honest to goodness -- it's the freeing feeling.}

  5. I loved the day my daughter figured out how to pump her legs and swing herself. Because then I could swing right beside her!

    I keep forgetting to do my Bigger Picture Moment. (I'd forget my name these days if it wasn't on my driver's license, I think.) Thanks for this lovely reminder about the power of those little, big moments.

  6. Oh, Lauren has the right idea, because swinging is the best thing EVER. I used to spend hours swinging and singing at the top of my lungs when I was little, that was where I was happiest!


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?