By Jay Abington • April 4, 2018
My little girl Jamie came into this world as a gift from nature to all of us. She was particularly fond of me from the start and
Naturally I fell in love with her the first time I held her.
Jamie never did much crying or complaining. she slept through the night and was just a happy child .she did protest a bit when she needed changing if someone other than myself was doing it.
One thing for sure Jamie loved my black lab (Friday) very much.
When Jamie started walking and talking she liked being with Friday and I as much as possible.
If I was talking to someone or busy doing something you could find her hanging out with Friday and Friday would almost never let us out of his sight.
I spent most of my time outside working on the house or in the shop building things. I had been searching for something Jamie could do when I was working and I had an idea!
I made a rope swing and hung it from a maple tree in the front yard and Jamie loved it. If that child was out front she was on that swing asking me to give her a push.
It was a long way from the seat to the branch ware the rope was tied so that swing could get her at least 15 ft off the ground if I was pushing her.
The swing became our thing to do every day and in the summer sometimes she would be in her PJ’s swinging right up to bed time.
While she swung back and forth with me pushing her we talked about everything that popped into her head or sometimes I would just be telling her a story.
We also made lots of weekend plans and hatched ideas together under that tree.
Well time marches on and she was around 4 years old I think when I got a note from her mother that said she was not happy with me and would be moving in two weeks.
Her mom and I were done and I knew it was just a matter of time.
I wasn’t to upset about that. Everyone should seek happiness and that is all Connie wanted to do was be happy.
My problem was the obvious thing. Connie would be taking Jamie and her step sister with her as she should.
I simply didn’t know how I could be happy without waking up next to my little Jamie every day and I know Jamie is going to be devastated. It’s hard enough to say goodbye when leaving your child at school but this ..I knew was going to hurt more than my imagination was able to prepare me for.
I tried to find the words to talk to her about it while we were swinging but my heart was broken and I just couldn’t find a way to tell her that we wouldn’t be living in the same house any longer.
Well I was right, that kind of thing hurts far more than either of us could imagine.
I had to go up north to pick up a welder over the weekend and when I returned on Sunday the house was empty except for my bed and desk.
I guess I didn’t think Connie would really leave.
As I am typing this I am reliving the feeling I had while standing just inside the door with Friday looking at the empty house .Friday and I must have sat their in the hallway for several hours until the phone rang. I remember going to answer it but was diverted by Connie’s final letter which was sitting under the phone.
I want to explain that Connie was never out to bury me, take my kid or any other kind of harm, she was just trying to find happiness in her life.
The note was short and to the point she simply gave me the new add which was only a few miles away and said that I could have Jamie any time I wanted. And I could visit anytime I wanted.
Her and I agreed on an amount for child support and that was all she wanted.
We never went to court to settle anything we settled it ourselves.
That first night was spent with Friday in front of the fire place desperately trying to figure out a way to look at this so it wouldn’t destroy the person I had become and minimize the pain that Jamie and I were about to go through.
When I look back on it now I realize there is no clear path to take we just had to walk through it together.
I couldn’t make the payments on the house by myself so it was sold.
My last night at the house was a hard one and I doubt it will ever be forgotten.
I sold everything I owned and was sitting on that swing thinking about it all when Jamie’s mom pulls up. Connie gets my little Jamie out of her seat, she comes running over and says want a push daddy? Why sure I do James. Her mom takes off to do some shopping so we took turns on the swing. Jamie and I just sat there talking and swinging like we always did.
Jamie and Connie left and Friday and I spent our last night of that part of our life in the front yard ,him faithfully at my side and me gently swaying back and forth on the swing.
The sun came up that day as if we were the only ones to witness it. I climbed up that old tree and cut the swing down rolled up the rope told Friday to get in the truck put the swing in and drove away.
The next few years are kind of blurry and I don’t remember much of it but I can tell you this.
We kept the swing in back of the blazer at all times. Jamie and I put that swing up in all kinds of different trees As she grew older.
Time marches on and my little girl moves to Grass valley with her mom which is 2 hours away .It was hard but it seemed to strengthen our relationship. We have never once raised our voices at each other or even had a disagreement. I think that old swing gave us the time to really know one another. Some ware along the way I lost track of the old swing. Friday got older and died one night with his head in my lap in front of the fire and Jamie graduates’ high school.
Whenever I see or talk to my little girl we have a great time and I all ways miss her .Time marches on and now I had just returned from her college graduation at Sacramento state.
An old friend of mine calls and asks me to come by and look at his truck.
A couple days later I fix the truck and have some dinner with him and his family. One thing I noticed was the great relationship he had with his kids. It made me think how fortunate we are to have such a thing.
Well it’s time for me to leave so I say goodbye get in my car and he suddenly says hold on a second Jay I have something of yours. Couple minutes later he comes out of the garage with that old swing and says you and Jamie hung it up in our tree years ago but that tree fell in the last storm. I am a little shocked and say wow thanks I was wondering where I left that.
He says we are going to miss that swing I can’t count the hours I spent pushing my kids on it and he hands it to me.as I am driving away smiling at what I know.. I look over at the swing sitting on the seat next to me and say well old friend where to next.
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