Monday, April 26, 2010

The Swing Set

Last summer my husband planned on building a fort with an attached swing set for the boys. He took Fridays off for those ten summer weeks and he and the boys designed the set complete with ropes attached to trees to swing onto the fort and all kinds of special features. They researched other forts, designed and inputted it into AutoCAD, planned out the wood, picked the stain, ordered special bolts and screws, and had the wood delivered from several different lumber stores to our back yard.

My husband and I disagreed on if we should create and spend our money on such a massive fort that would take up the majority of our back yard. He said, hey the kids are only children once and he wanted to do this fort for them. My argument was although I know he could do it and it could be the best fort in all of San Diego, I also was trying to be realistic and I knew that he would be gone many weekends too many to take on such an endeavor. I was skeptical that he would not be able to complete it while they were still kids and I really didn’t want my entire backyard taken up by this gi-normous playset. Couldn’t he make a smaller, simpler one?

He went ahead with his plans and after we borrowed ladders, lights, power machines, and other things I’m not even sure what. We then had friends come over and have a swing set raising party. It was well after summer when the boys were able to finally swing on the green swings and climb up the hanging plastic ropes. The fort portion had to wait until the following summer. While the kids were enjoying their father’s great accomplishment, my husband noticed that the swing set still wasn’t braced enough so he put up boards across the set so the boys wouldn’t play on them until he fixed it. He special ordered some longer, thicker screws and some sort of bracing mechanisms. The owner of the store he ordered them from even came to our door to deliver them. Clif was planning on bracing the set soon.

Yesterday my husband left with his mom to help move her to Florida. With a 26’ truck with her car in tow they headed out for a fourteen hour drive for three days each and then a planned one more day to move her in. He was in Las Cruzes, New Mexico when I called with some sobering news.

The boys and I had been gone most of the day doing those annoying errands we just had to do on a Saturday. We arrived home late in the afternoon and the boys were “vegging” in front of the TV watching “the Princess and the Frog” movie on volume 25 or something loud like that while I was fixing a simple dinner. I heard a very loud noise outside, but couldn’t figure out where it came from. The timer was going off, the microwave was humming, and the movie was blaring. I just figured that our neighbors opened their garage door or something.

Then our door bell rang. I ask the boys to pause their movie even though I thought it might be someone trying to sell candy so they could go to a camp even though it was odd that they would be soliciting so late in the evening. We were surprised to discover our alley neighbor standing at our door. He told us how he saw about six kids arrive to our backyard on skateboards. They opened our knee-high gate and let themselves in and then played on the swing set. After all of them swinging and climbing on it the massive contraption came tumbling down. The neighborhood boys laughed and scurried off. It was then that our neighbor realized they were not suppose to be in our backyard and he came to tell us that loud noise was our massive swing set.

We thanked him for delivering the message and we ran out back to examine the ruins. The gi-normous boards crashed down over the fence into the alley threatening damage to any unsuspecting driver’s car. Since Clif was not at home I knew there would be no way ever that I could move those boards by myself so I went to our friendly next-door neighbors and asked if they wouldn’t mind helping me pull the contraption in. We heaved and hoed and dragged the thick boards in, crashing further to the ground unhitched from the fence. All that work lay in one massive pile with no indication that it was a swing set. The hinges were bent, the wood was shared in places, and the dream of fort battles and overnight sleepovers high up quickly vanished.

It only took a second for almost a year’s worth of work to come crashing down.

I spent an entire year writing articles on being a mom and raising healthy children. I took another year to put together a book proposal and it took me a day to write and send out queries to literary agents asking them to consider reading my proposal and manuscript. It only took them a moment to receive a reply letting me know that information could be found on the web. It took all of a few seconds for me to realize that I needed to abandon the project that took me two years to do.

What have you worked on or dreamed about that only took a second to have it all come crashing down?

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  1. Sharon - the story made me laugh. We love our dads with all their grandios plans and ideas. It's amazing how the moms seemed to always be the ones who pick up the pieces.
    I hope your ending does not mean you are giving up on writing.

  2. @Jenny - no, haven't given up on the writing. I had another project in mind and I've finished six chapters so far. I think the last two years helped prepare me for my next writing adventure! Thanks!

  3. aw man! :( life crashing down on us isn't fun! :( but it definitely does happen, doesn't it? i like what you wrote to @Jenny. I think that's the best response... get back up again and see what's next!


  4. It's true that not all of our plans work out as expected. Maybe that's why they came up with the saying "It's the journey, not the destination." As long as we grow, learn, and enjoy our path as we're walking it, then there can be no regrets and it can all be a positive experience....even if our best laid plans come crashing down. I often find that better things can only happy when I stop limiting them with my own expectations.

    Stopping by from ToBeThode's Saturday Sound Off!

  5. My family... my blended family really. I have built up these dreams of our family for years and it has been torn apart over the past few months by two of my stepkids.

    I am so sorry that things are "falling apart" but I am glad to know you aren't giving up!

    Thanks for linking up with Sat Sound Off!