Monday, October 10, 2011

The Swing

I'm looking forward to getting rid of the baby swing. It takes up such a big space in our not so big living room. I imagine putting a cozy reading corner in for Kathleen or a real bookcase to replace the milkcrates housing her books right now or some kind of toy storage or . . .

I'm almost ready to ditch it (give it away, put it up in the attic for that tag sale we'll never have). I barely ever put Elizabeth in it. She never took to it the way her brother and sister did. When Kathleen grew too heavy for it, she went from a three hour nap to a twenty minute nap. I swore I wouldn't make that mistake again, so Elizabeth didn't swing much.

I started saying I was almost ready for the swing to go more than a month ago. It's still sitting here beside my chair, though. Now Elizabeth's far too big and too eager to be moving around. The last time I put her in it (a month ago? two?) she grabbed for the mobile pieces that circle around the top, so I took her out.

I thought it was one of the things I would have no trouble getting rid of.

Then I remembered.

December 14, the night we finally brought Henry home from the hospital, we put him in the swing, which he had always loved, and turned it on. His oxygen tubing tap, tap, tapped on the floor in the swing's rhythm. Henry looked at himself in the curvy mirror above him. He seemed to notice the mobile for the first time, not odd as he was six months old, not the three months he had been when he left the swing behind for the hospital.

Brian wanted to get some video footage of Henry in the swing, but before he did, Henry fell asleep. Our footage pans back and forth between our content, sleeping baby in the swing and me telling the story of our homecoming. I am deliriously exhausted and relieved and happy to be home and terrified at the prospect of keeping up with Henry's meds and keeping him healthy and haunted by what we had just endured. My story ends with us all home, getting ready for a busy med schedule, but all doing it together.

Brian focuses the camera once again on Henry, wishes him goodnight and then says More footage to come.

I didn't remember he said that until afterward, when we finally sat down and watched all of our video of Henry.

More footage to come.

And the screen goes blue.

The swing is just some metal and cloth and mechanical bits. And the very last place my baby was okay.

My to-do list f has us putting the bassinet and the swing up in the attic later in the week during Brian's time off. I've made a mental note to remove the batteries from the swing. I'm mentally cataloging space up there wondering where it will go. I'm ready, to get it out of the living room, not quite ready to get rid of it, though.

Someday. For now, I hold onto the swing and hold onto this:


  1. What beautiful babies. I loved our swing, too. E took long naps in it, O didn't like it as much.

    I know what you mean about holding on to the "stuff." There are certain things I absolutely no longer need but they are the only physical reminders on my girl. And I am one who loves to donate, so it is hard that way too.


  2. You were one of the main reasons we got a swing. I remember you encouraging me to buy one and I'm so glad we did, as Angus took just about every nap in it til he was nine months old. Turns out his little sister doesn't like it as much, and I so wish she would!
    I know it will be hard to part with so many of my baby things when the time comes, even though I know that is most practical thing to do.

  3. Our relics of the days our children lived with us are so precious. Even now, as Jackson naps in his (her) crib, the closet and one and a half drawers in the dresser are still full of Hudson's little girl clothes, still sitting exactly as they were the day she died, almost 17 months ago. I doubt they will move until we do. Hold on to it as long as you need to, Sara. Even if it does take up space. Much love.

  4. Such beautiful babies, all of them. I'm glad that you have these memories of him being safe and happy and loved, but I wish with all my heart that there'd been a lot more footage to come. Years and years of footage.

    Dot's swing is the only reason I was able to pump any milk before going back to work. She found it in the basement the other day and made us bring it back upstairs to sit in (it's low to the ground and I'd removed the batteries long ago). I hope this doesn't mean she'll be as attached to things as I am, or we really will end up on "Hoarders."

  5. I'm hoping I'll find somebody I know who wants a swing. I've found it so much easier to let go of stuff that way. (Nice to have the reminder I'm not the only one who clings to stuff.)

  6. I'm a terrible stuff clinger and I can completely understand why you are reluctant to part with the swing, I would be too. It is so hard the split the thing made of metal and cloth and mechanical bits and bobs from the memories that a particular object holds. I love the photographs of your precious three.
    I agree, I've found it far easier to give things to somebody I know who wants it. I gave G's car seat to a friend who found herself unexpectedly pregnant and felt pleased that it was going to a baby who needed it. It is still in use by the original baby's little brother and I've never felt a pang for it once being G's. Slightly different though as she never actually used it.
    Just loving these photographs still, Henry looks so calm and comfortable, Kathleen (in the middle I've assumed?) looking quite regal and self possessed and Elizabeth just look fast, fast asleep (obviously not a particularly representative snapshot of her relationship with the swing!)