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The Boston Globe



The emptying nest

Parents have no idea how much kids will change their lives. That is as true when they enter our lives as when they leave our houses.

LOOKING OVER MY SUNDAY PAPER in the backyard, I see the spot where our swing set used to be. My husband took it down yesterday. It was a hot day, and his face was so red when he was done that I ran out with a cold cloth for the back of his neck. We were both looking forward to getting rid of that eyesore after so many years. It wasn’t one of those high-end sets that bought you street cred with other suburban moms. This one was a Toys “R” Us special, installed by a father with thick black hair and runner’s legs.

It has served us long, if not well, with one side lifting off the ground with every squeaky return. The yellow plastic slide was caked with sap that no amount of nail polish remover or Goo Gone could remove. Kids new to the yard took one halting ride down the slide and then their parents threw away their pants when they got home. I was thrilled to see that swing set coming down, the rusty bolts sawed off, and wood stacked for the garbage truck. We toasted the occasion with a couple of frosty Coronas.

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