Once she outgrew the baby swing, it took everything I had to explain to her that she was too big, that she just didn't fit anymore, that she was a big girl and needed to use the big girl swing, even when tempted to relent at the flood of tears and begging she produced, even when she told me, emphatically, that she wasn't a big girl, she was a baby. Finally, I convinced her it was a thing of the past.
But, in those early days, when she would decide she was done swinging on the big girl swing, she would remove her hands from the chains, put them up in the air, and announce, "All done!" Oh, how my heart would stop as I grabbed her falling body, vowing never to let her on any swings ever again.
Then one day, she got it. She learned to tell me when she was done before taking her hands off. She learned that taking her hands off while on the swing was dangerous. And I got to enjoy the grand pleasure of pushing her, higher and higher at her insistence, over. and. over. again. When, selfishly, all I would have loved would be to sit on the bench nearby with the other moms and just watch.
I've tried, repeatedly, to teach her to pump her legs, to pull back to gain momentum and do it herself. She moved her legs appropriately, but without the upper body movement, nothing would happen.
There we were, at a playground on a beautiful, no-coats-required, breezy, sunshiney day. Children, the first of which Samantha had seen since her Spring Break had begun a whole week before (and one of whom I'm sure I have to thank for the latest bout of pink-eye she woke with yesterday), were running around, sliding, swinging, climbing, enjoying the weather. As I watched and pushed her on the swings, two other sets of parents were trying to teach their children, who looked to be about Samantha's age, how to do it on their own.
Inwardly, I cringed, thinking that this typical rite of passage would not be ours for some time yet. I smiled politely, and silently, inwardly, begged Samantha to pay attention. Out loud, I cheerfully asked her to watch the other children, see what they were doing, telling her how excited I would be when she learns to do it herself.
And then I had an idea. I tried a new approach to teaching her to do it. It may have smacked of desperation, and I'm sure the others could hear it in my voice as I motioned like a madwoman, commanding her (in a nice way, mind you...) to do as I instructed.
And you know what?
She did it!!
And I was floored.
No speed or height yet, but she was definitely self-propelling. And she was definitely proud of her accomplishment, telling me she could do it on her own when I went to push her again.
And I can't wait to try again this weekend.
I have no doubt Samantha will soar to great heights on the swings soon, just as she does in anything else she sets her mind to.
She can fly.