“The Last Swing” by Sheldon Lawrence

At some point you will take your last swing from our arms as you walk between us on that gravel road, when you wiggle in and take each of our hands, and say one two threeeee as we lift you forward, your knees bent, squealing with delight, before our strength gives out, lowering you down, to start again, taking great leaps, flying almost, or like walking on the moon where one effortless step carries you twelve feet.

The time will come when we will say you are getting too big, too tall, or that we are too tired, or that mom and dad are talking now. Or you will just move on to different pleasures of the path, and never think again to ask. At some point there will be a last one, a last time. If we knew it, the occasion would deserve some kind of ceremony, some recognition that this is the last swing ever, and maybe we would even shed a tear, or feel gratitude that such moments were ours, that swinging from suspended arms is one of the many things life is about. But instead, when the last one comes, none of us will know it. We will release our sweaty palms, and you will skip away, and we will keep walking, talking, believing that nothing important just happened.


A Q&A about this essay with Sheldon Lawrence is available here