The Rainbow Play Set in the Grant family’s backyard in...

The Rainbow Play Set in the Grant family’s backyard in Freeport, around 2004 when they first got it. Credit: Grant Family

Change is always bittersweet. I’m sure that many of you with children moving into adulthood can relate. Who can forget the first day of kindergarten, holding back the tears until the bus drove off? The concerts and sporting events, dance recitals and the like. Then there was the transition into high school, followed by college applications, prom — and finally saying goodbye on that first move-in day at college. Saying goodbye is never easy. It signals the dawn of a new day, a change we are never ready for.

Last summer, we said goodbye to something else. Our beloved swing set by Rainbow Direct.

This swing set was purchased when my daughter Morgan was around 3 years old, and Sydney about 1. We searched for the best-quality swing set. It had to be sturdy, able accommodate lots of kids without the base lifting out of the ground even during exuberant swinging. It had to be one that we parents could swing on with our three children, one that would stand the test of time and changes in weather.

We found one from Rainbow Play Systems — often called “Rainbow Direct.” It was the "Sunshine Clubhouse: model. We purchased it around 2003 when we lived in Freeport. We sold our home in Freeport, and in January of 2006 we moved into our home in Dix Hills. We loved our swing set, so we had it moved to the new home. We actually had Rainbow Direct come back, to take it down and set it up again, so it would be done safely.

My then-husband, Andrew, did what he needed to do to maintain it over the years. From re-staining and repairing loose bolts to painting it and removing the slide when it became old and unsafe.

It brought us 17-plus years of wonderful memories, smiles and happiness on the faces of my children, family members and many, many friends. From play dates to barbecues, birthday parties, to just us, there was never a shortage of swinging, sliding and climbing, and fun.

My son, Andrew, never slid down the slide. He always found a way to climb up the slide. We always had to watch him, in case he fell off the slide on his way up. He liked to use the slide as a train track for his Thomas trains.

The swing set was always a beautiful view in the...

The swing set was always a beautiful view in the winter in the Grants' Dix Hills backyard – and could withstand all kinds of weather. Credit: Tedra Grant

When we dismantled the swing set last July, we kept some of the pieces. We plan to make bookends or other creative home décor for the kids to enjoy in their own homes in the future.

The yard felt naked, and quieter, when the swing set was taken down. Even though the kids weren’t using the swing set, there was comfort in knowing it was there, that we could swing on it any time. The set was a part of their childhood that I feared parting with. I guess it made me think about the fleeting time and perhaps my own mortality.

This summer will be different. We will lounge by the pool or on the patio furniture. Maybe we will put up hammocks where the swing set once stood, like “adult” swings, in a sense.

For now, we have the Rainbow play set “tombstone” where our treasured swing set once stood as a reminder to our family of all the wonderful memories, laughter and fun times we shared, enjoying almost two decades with our beloved play set.

A sad moment, when the swing set was disassembled in...

A sad moment, when the swing set was disassembled in July 2021. Credit: Tedra Grant

Tedra Grant,

Dix Hills

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