Acknowledging the tension involved in sharing a home, Mike installed a shed for my use. Some people call it a she-shed, I call it my writing shed, and my friend Nancy calls it Norway, because I threaten to move to Norway, ranked one of the happiest nations in the world.
There is plenty of room in the yard to accommodate this shed, as well as the wooden play set. Echoes of children laughing, playing, and watching movies waft nearby. But the wood of the structure was drying as it sits rarely used.
ED protested when we proposed removing it, asserting that Mowgli and his friends still use it. Conversation with Mowgli, however, affirmed his lack of interest. The monkey bars were the first to go. In order to swing from them, Mowgli would have to curl his legs up from the ground. On the off chance that he and his friends climbed onto the platform, convoluting their bodies to crawl through the entryway, they would find themselves uncomfortably confined.
I understand ED’s reluctance. She sees the boys’ childhood fading more quickly than she would like. I hold onto the special memories of the many sets that we have owned in various homes, from a simple swing on the porch to elaborate play sets. We observed our children’s physical development, cheering them on as they strengthened their muscles and gained coordination. Too soon their bodies left the backyard to venture into the world via bicycles, cars, and jets.
When Mike first installed my shed, I could view the playset set comfortably under a shade tree through a window. Within a few days, the set was gone. The window frames a view of the tree, the neighbor’s red clay roof, and oleanders, a scene of serenity. But the absence of the playset uncovers a hole in my heart.