We get lots of hand me downs. From clothing to toys, books, and even bottles, we’ve had all sorts of things dropped off at our house. This is a good thing, and I'm not complaining. Although I do draw the line at "gently used" diapers.
Like Macklemore said, I'll wear your grandpa's clothes. Through our son's first year we've had the good fortune to buy only a handful of outfits and one pair of boots. Very expensive boots, as the money saved in clothes is counteracted by my wife's love of all things Pottery Barn. But I'm de-stressing, uh digressing here. Some of these hand me downs are practically new, and nice. I almost feel obligated to tell people that his name brand sneakers and shirts are second hand. We're not that couple that will be buying our son any Nike sneakers anytime soon.
So last weekend when our neighbors across the street offered up the swing set that’s been sitting unused in their backyard, I readily accepted. I’d made the mistake of putting Simon’s little blue swing in the tree in the front yard, which meant that every time we went to put him in the car he’d point and yell and bounce like a monkey. I'd even taken to shielding the swing from his view to speed things along. You do what you gotta do...
Anyway, the swing is a welcomed addition to our backyard. We made plans for the four of us to haul it across the street, which when discussed on a Friday night over a round of beers, sounded like a piece of cake.
When Sunday rolled around and I stumbled upon the massive, wooden set, I lifted one side and knew immediately we were going to need reinforcements. That or a forklift. For a while, we all just kind of stood and looked at it, wondering how this was going to work. I was ready to pack it in when our neighbor’s husband grabbed the tools and gloves.
A few screws loosened and we broke it down, Carrying the top part first, I held back tears as the splinters thrust into my palm. I don't need no stinking gloves. I fought as the frame swayed in my Nancy Boy grasp. But I trudged onward, like I was on a religious mission, carrying a wooden crucifix across the country. Kind of a stretch, I only had to go around to my back yard and my wife helped me out with my end.
We made it to my backyard and then went back to retrieved the base, where the sliding board connects. After some tinkering and reassembling, I had myself a swing set. It needs a little sanding and stain, but it’s solid and it works. Much better than those tetanus shot aluminum sets we had in the seventies.
Once the set was reassembled and in position, we got Simon in his seat and swung away.
Now I look out the kitchen window and smile. If a swing set doesn’t make me feel like a dad, nothing will.