Kim Harms

Life Reconstructed

Empty Swingsets

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The swings were empty, and I was close to tears.  A wooden playset was about to make me cry.

It was ridiculous really. We only lived in the house for six months.

But I looked at the empty swingset while I stood in the empty house, and I thought of my three boys. Brothers who have this amazing propensity to find in each other the one nerve in a million that is most easily agitated and then patiently camp out on it until it causes the desired explosive reaction.

During the past six months I’d often find those same button-pushing boys sitting side-by-side on the red swing, the yellow swing, the blue swing. Pumping their legs and laughing as though they were BFFs. I would smile and go back to working on whatever happened to be on my to-do list that day.

But now the swingset was empty. And I realized they would never swing there again. And at 13, maybe Carter would never swing again period. And I was overcome. And I wanted to cry. And I felt so silly that some chains with little plastic seats could make me so sad.

And I left 809 Ashwood, like all the other houses we’ve moved out of, with a bittersweet feeling that comes at the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.

That evening I sat down to relax with an old book and found that somehow, Betty Smith put on paper in 1948 feelings I couldn’t quite articulate in 2014.

“The last time of anything has the poignancy of death itself. This that I see now, she thought, to see no more this way. Oh the last time how clearly you see everything; as though a magnifying light had been turned on it. And you grieve because you hadn’t held it tighter when you had it every day.”

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

And though I still felt a little silly about the sadness brought about by the swingset, I decided it was okay to let myself have a good cry.


Author: Kim Harms

I am a contributor at CT Women (previously known as Today's Christian Woman where I was a regular contributor as well). I blog monthly at and have freelanced for a variety of publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Guideposts, Thriving Family and Creation Illustrated. Cancer made an unwelcome visit in my breast in January 2016, and I am now working on a book about breast reconstruction after having gone through the insane process myself. My incredible husband of 18 years, Corey, is my biggest writing cheerleader and together we are having a ball raising our three growing boys; Carter 15, Owen 14 and Lewis 10.

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