The Empty Swing

  There is a creak on one of the steps leading upstairs in our house, but lately the creak has been silent. One of the bedrooms upstairs seems strangely quieter than it has been during the summer. Two stuffed puppies keep a hopeful lookout wishing that maybe they wonít have to spend another night alone. The books on the dresser in that bedroom havenít been looked at for a while. Our cats and dogs are missing some extra pats from a pair of little hands.

Downstairs the shelf that holds paper, magic markers, scissors, crayons and such hasnít been disturbed for a couple of weeks now. A shelf in the bathroom that has a little vase with a small toothbrush and toothpaste in it isnít being used. A wicker clothes basket doesnít hold any dirty clothes. At meal time, one less plate and glass is used. There are no familiar questions like "what are we having for supper?" or "are we going for a walk after supper?" or "if we go for a walk, can I ride my bike?"

Outside on a limb in the big old walnut tree, an empty swing hangs, and the only time it is in motion nowadays is when a strong breeze blows. The back yard is empty where just a few weeks earlier, training wheels were taken off a little girlís bike, and the thrill of learning to ride without them was experienced for the first time. Good night hugs, turning back the covers, making sure the stuffed puppies are placed just right are missing too.




All these activities that arenít happening around our house now is because our granddaughter, Alexis, has gone home after spending her entire summer at our house. And since school is officially underway once more, the everyday noises that go with having a seven year old around all the time are no longer heard. Even though she lives in Cookeville where she is a student in the second grade at Northeast Elementary School, it seems she may as well be in Tim-Buck-Too. But that is all just temporary. Sheíll be back one weekend soon, and things will happen around here again. The swing will once more be in motion, the bike will whiz around the yard, and cartwheels will be turned in the back yard too. The stuffed puppies will gladly scoot over to share the bed with her again, and it will seem as if she has always been there once more. The cats and dogs will get those long overdue extra pats. Weíll look forward to those weekend visits, and in the meantime, we will hold on to our memories of a happy summer we shared with a very special little girl.