The house sits quietly upon the hill. With a few trees standing tall for summer shade, the leaves have now long since fallen. The approaching winter chill is heavy on the air. The evening sun has all but dropped beyond the horizon. The Moon and stars shine brilliantly in the darkening night sky.
The tire swing moves gently on the light breeze. The clinking of the chain reminds me of my son as a young boy. He’s holding on tight as he squeals excitedly when he tries to climb higher in the air sitting upon the swing. The smile shines in his eyes as he eagerly bends toward the rise of the swing, before it falls with a whoosh, bringing him back to earth.
“Again, Mommy, let’s try it again.” He says.
“Okay, but this is the last time.” I reply. Of course, it wasn’t the last time, as I keep pushing him with that same request upon his lips.
The breeze stops and the swing slowly stops moving. When I look again, I see my son as a young boy, now standing on the swing. He holds the chains loosely so he can build momentum as he uses his strength and weight to push the swing high into the sky. Always the adventurer, I can hear his laughter as he waves at me watching from the porch.
I hear the sound of wheels and look toward the long driveway. My son is now a teenager. I see him gliding across the drive on a skateboard. The tire swing sits unused for now. I watch as he jumps and twists in the air, then kicks the board back underneath his feet. He smiles and waves, content in another adventure.
Walking into the house, I turn on lights for the darkness outside is now complete. When I walk into the living room, I see my son, now in his early twenties talking to his friends. They are making plans for an adventure together. He smiles and winks at me across the room.
I walk into his room. It hasn’t changed much over the years. He no longer sleeps here, but I keep it ready for his return. I know that makes no sense, but I don’t care.
As I lay in the dark, I can see the moon and the stars through my window. I whisper, “please visit me in my dreams tonight. Tell about your latest adventure son.”
Before long, I am walking along a dirt path lined with wildflowers. Ahead of me stretches rolling fields dotted with trees. I can hear guitar music. I see my son sitting on a tire swing suspended by chains underneath a tree in the middle of the nearest field.
As I reach my son, I see him smiling as he strums the tune, “Somewhere over the Rainbow.” This became our special song, eight long years ago. Eight years that seem like eight light-years for my heart.
In that instant, just like the song, I now see trees all around us blooming red and green roses, underneath blue skies and clouds of white.
“Hello Mother. This is where you can find me, watching over you.” He sets the guitar down and climbs from the tire swing. When my child embraces me, I feel timeless joy spreading through my heart.
“Please let this be real. Please let this be real.” I fervently pray. “I want to stay here with you.”
“This is where we are always together, Mom. I am but a few steps ahead of you.”
The joy in my son’s eyes shines from his soul. He slips me his gold guitar pic. “Watch for the signs Mom. You will know I’m watching over you.”
“Smile when you look my way son.”
“I always smile at you.” He answers and winks one more time.
When I awake, it’s morning. I feel peaceful for the first time in a long time. I remember the dream with my son. Could that be, I wonder? Was the visit with my son real?
As I go about my day, I think of my son as I always do. I think about the dream and wonder what it means? I walk outside to the tire swing. So many memories of my son were at this spot. I wonder if my son watches me from here.
As I start to walk back inside, I see a glint in the grass. Reaching down, I pick up a gold guitar pic.
I hear laughter. This time it’s my laughter. It’s true. A mother and her child can never truly be apart. We share a love that joined our hearts as one.