As I dive into my memory bank, I recall at eight years old my Uncle Ken had built a swing for his kids, my cousins. A swing that I could never have imagined having in our own backyard. You can see in my photo here how incredible this swing must have been to an eight-year-old.
I grew up in Inala, which was a home in a government housing commission area that was looked down on and even made fun of. Definitely not respected yet looking back, my neighbours were all hard-working family people and great neighbours. Most, if not all would have been earning at the lower end of the income. They were definitely not wingers; they were the type of people who just got on with life. Our yards were tidy , our houses where clean , kids laughing and playing. Truly I really don’t understand why people are judgmental of lower income areas. It was a suburb where my life was full of love, family ,friends and fun.
Once Uncle Ken’s kids outgrew the wonderful swing of things it was passed to my brother and me. I could not believe it was ours. Our neighbours would come over and we would all head for the swing all fighting for where our place was on the bench seat. My best friend Karen (who I never called Karen because that was my name and I didn’t understand another person having my name so I called her” that girl “ for many years), my brother and Karen’s brother Trevor would spend hours together on that swing. We were so lucky to have Karen and Trevor as neighbours and friends, they made life so fun and we never got bored or lonely.
Getting back into the swing of things; together we would all swing as high as we possibly could imagining we could reach the sky. I would tell Michael that is where Humphrey B Bear lived who was a popular character from an Australian TV show . When the boys were not with us Karen and I would sing ABBA songs and do our version of an ABBA dance on the swing. We certainly got into the swing of things doing our dance.
Sharing our wonderful swing with our neighbours is one of my best memories. As an adult I get as much enjoyment from sharing whether it be music, a bottle of wine, a conversation with a friend, a quiet space or a deck of cards. The more energy pumping around the subject of sharing, the more imagination, laughs and stories to be made into memories is life at its best.
However, a massive change came to my swing of things My family moved to our new home in Ipswich and our swing was moved with us. It was exciting to have own home, yet I was missing my neighbors and friends. I remember going out into my new big backyard and missing them but finding comfort on my swing.
Yet another change came creeping into my life, slowly but surely it was happening in my own home. A self-satisfying, selfish incestuous paedophile, at the age of nine came into my life. My hurt and confusion was overwhelming, and I would seek out my swing as a place of solace. It was my special, safe place, away from everyone and I could see my surrounding to know I was safe. Just seeing my swing made me feel happy. One of my favourite birds, the kookaburra and three of his friends would sit on my swing making it even more special. I remember standing watching those kookaburras giving me so much happiness.
Now to end on a great note let’s get back into the swing of things. My husband Mathew has built me a swing for our backyard. It has a bench seat that was made by dear friends and is held up by a strong steel frame that Matthew welded and concreted into the ground. He had no idea of the story of my favourite swing, it was just something he decided to build for me.
It’s only in reflection that I remembered the peace I found on my backyard swing as a nine-year-old. My new swing now is a different type of peace that I share with my husband and on my own. We often make a cup of coffee/tea, take our baby puppy Buster and chat about the future day. Most evenings we take a night cap (or few) down to our swing and talk about our day and sometimes reminisce about life either together or times as children. Whatever times we talk about we acknowledge we are both blessed enough to remember fun times. Only on the rare occasions we find ourselves chatting about the times in our childhood when we have been hurt or times where we have reacted poorly . We are blessed to have found each other and talk it out and protect and love with kindness .
I am so grateful to be where I am in life.
Back into the swing of things , life is great!
Stay strong, grow together and remember kind is a Big Word.