Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge

Today is August 31, 2021, and I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Story Challenge.

“Oh, look.” I strained to see where my wife’s gaze rested. Thinking perhaps she’d spied the two young deer that frequent our expansive back yard to munch on fallen peaches, I moved to stand shoulder to shoulder with her. Peering out beneath the oak grove, I spotted not the two deer, but one girl – my eldest daughter. Alone, she rested astride the old rope swing, gently swaying, now-long legs levitating above the ground. Not quite a silhouette against the painted evening sky. For a moment, my wife and I drank it in.

With twilight quickly approaching, I hastily moved toward the back door. “I’m going to go push her,” I said to my wife.

Closing the door behind me, I shouted down to the girl in the grove, “Hey! How about a push, kiddo?”

The girl’s face beamed back. “Sure!” she replied. I took off at a full sprint, meeting her back swing at just the precise moment to run through her and under her, catapulting her upwards to the stars high branches above. From that highest point, I heard a small exclamation of joy escape my daughter’s lips.

And suddenly I felt myself transported back in time, back to a time when she was five, not twelve. When her legs didn’t extend so far beyond the old stick upon which she now perched. When pink leggings covered those legs, not the middle school jeans she now donned.

Slowly, the swing returned to a gentle sway. And I watched as her eyes seemed to indicate she, too, was time-traveling. She pointed to a different branch on a different tree, over which a failed second rope swing still hung. “Remember we tried to make a second swing there?” she asked, lightly giggling. Then, she looked to her right. “And up there, I made my own swing under that little tree, because…well, I wanted to see if I could do it. Remember?” I looked. Yes, I remembered. I watched as her gaze silently spanned the entire yard, over the raspberry bushes, across the now-brown patches where the turtles come to lay their eggs in the late spring, past the grape arbor.

“I think I have a memory for every corner of this yard,” she whispered.

And then it hit me. Time is passing. My little girl is now in seventh grade. Time is passing. Time is passing. Indeed. I placed my arm around her shoulder. “Wanna head in for dinner?” I asked.

“Sure,” she replied.

Author: Lanny Ball

For more than 29 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy specialist, working and living in the great state of Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a former co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting writing teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops, twowritingteachers.org.

6 thoughts on “Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge”

  1. This is so touching. It transported me back to my childhood and the swings in my own backyard and also to the times of pushing my two children on swings. I love the comment your daughter made about seeing memories in every corner of your yard. It is inspiring me to make a map of my childhood backyard and record memories on every inch of it. Thank you for sharing this piece with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A slice within a slice within a slice. . . So lovely! There is so much warmth in the way you describe the moment, from the interactions with your wife and daughter to the nature details that set the scene.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So nostalgic and lovely – this is a magnificent line: “I think I have a memory for every corner of this yard.” It sends my mind into poetry mode. The idea of her there on that swing, alone with her memories – and then the two of you sharing memories. Making this new one. A rich, rich slice.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is gorgeous. I loved that image of you and your wife watching from the window and your pull to go push and remember. There is so much love in this remembering and also in that present moment. I just love it all.

    Liked by 1 person

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