The swing hangs from the branch of an old oak tree. It’s a wooden seat held by thick ropes. It’s adult size, high off the ground for an adult height.
It’s old fashion looking. The kind of swing you might see in grandma’s back yard. Instead, it’s in the yard of a family with a daughter.
She’s 5 years old. The swing is big enough to fit two of her. Her feet can’t reach the ground. “Higher, Daddy! Higher!”, she screams. Her face beams with the happiness that comes from Daddy playing with her.
Daddy gently pushes her just a little higher, concerned about her falling. She’s still just a baby to him. The most precious thing in his world.
Turn around. She’s 8 years old. Her feet barely reach the ground. “Higher, Daddy! Higher!”, she giggles. She loves summer and not having school. She could play all day out in the yard. She loves it when Daddy comes home from work and can push her on the swing. She wishes summer could last forever.
Daddy pushes her a little higher. He loves that she’s a bit of a tomboy and that she still wants him to play with her.
Turn again and she’s 12. Her feet firmly reach the ground. “Higher, Daddy! Higher!”, she laughs. She’s ready to fly. She wants to be a pilot, an astronaut. She wonders if she’s too old to be calling him Daddy instead of Dad.
Daddy pushes her higher. He encourages her dreams. He tells her she can be anything she wants to be.
Turning again and she’s 15. “Higher Dad! Higher!”, she sobs. Her first heartbreak and she feels as if her life is over.
Daddy stops the swing, holds her tight and lets her cry. There is nothing he can say to make her feel better. He wishes she were a little girl again.
Look again and she’s 18. She sits on the swing talking to Dad. She doesn’t know where she wants her life to go. Should she go to college? What should she major in? Should she live at home? Should she go to a school far away?
She is a little scared to leave Dad. Dad is a little scared for her to leave. What happened to that baby girl he held in his arms?
Turn around again and she’s twenty-two. She sits in the swing in her wedding gown, a photographer taking pictures. Her father moves behind her to pose. The photographer is almost finished.
Dad hugs her from behind. “Higher, Daddy! Higher!”, she whispers.
Her wedding pictures look beautiful with a laughing bride high in the air and a laughing Daddy waiting to push her higher.