A few days before, I decided to dig myself a hole. It wasn't a proverbial hole, where I was supposed to be in two places at the same time or did something I knew I would have to pay for later. This was an actual hole.
When my daughter reached the apex, where her feet seemed to touch the clouds, she let out a laugh I had never heard before. It was involuntary from somewhere deep.
Despite my aches and pains, her laugh made it all worth it. Then she swung back and almost hit me in the face.
A few days before, I decided to dig myself a hole.
It wasn't a proverbial hole, where I was supposed to be in two places at the same time or did something I knew I would have to pay for later. This was an actual hole.
They make it look so simple in gangster movies. A couple of turns of the shovel, and boom, big hole. In reality, it is hard work.
And as with any home project, about halfway through I questioned my decision making abilities. Surely, no sane person would voluntarily do this. Why did I? I wondered. Somewhere deep in my brain, a voice called, "Because you're cheap!"
When I research new projects, I often come to the conclusion that much of the price is not about the materials but the work. And I always reason that if hard work is all that is needed, I can provide it. Plus, I'm a little cheap.
So when my 3-year-old asked why we don't have a swing in the backyard, I could only tell her it was because I hadn't built it yet. Recently, we had all of the dead limbs trimmed from our trees. It was one job I decided not to do myself; something about dangling several stories high with a chainsaw didn't sit well.
One of these limbs had a little blue, red and yellow safety swing attached to it. Neither my explanation that all of the tree limbs were now too high nor that she and her sister had outgrown the swing, seemed to satisfy her. Simply, it was nice out, and she wanted to swing.
Building anything, including swings, isn't too difficult as long as you are willing to sweat through your shoes.
When I started, my 5-year-old was at my side, shovel in hand. We split up the work. I would carry the wood and 500 pounds of concrete from the car to the backyard, dig the hole and build the swings. She would rescue the worms.
My 3-year-old decided to help by asking me if I it was done every 10 minutes. She's on the fast track to management.
The holes got dug, despite the rain and the death of our wheelbarrow. The next day, the cement was poured, complete with little hand prints to mark the occasion. And two, new pink swings were delivered.
When it was done, they put it to the test. My oldest showed her little sister how to pump her legs to gain altitude, and I added a push to help. And she laughed like I had never heard before.
"You did a good job, Daddy," she declared.
I don't know how digging a hole can make you feel so high, but I do know that hard work always has gotten me to where I want to be.
Reach Dave at email@example.com.
On Twitter: @DaveManley