I don’t often sit on my front deck. I did a half-ass job staining it when we first moved into this house and it looks terrible. Like, I think I applied stain over some tree sap that was too hard to get up kind of terrible. So, for four years, I’ve pretended like it doesn’t exist. I didn’t decorate. I didn’t try to use it. I just kept the door closed and ignored it because what I really want to do is tear it down and have a new one installed with a roof so that we have a shady spot to sit outdoors, a place to hang a porch swing, as well as a dry location to enjoy a summer storm. The sad little deck I have right now stresses me out so I’ve avoided it.
Not too long ago, I went through my late friend’s Facebook photos. She and her five year old son were killed in a tornado earlier this year. Since I couldn’t talk to her, I stalked her social media and I looked through her pictures, marveling at what a great mom she was. The best pictures were of her little boy playing outside in the summertime. My favorite was him sitting in what was probably a $5 folding camp chair, eating a popsicle, in nothing but his super-hero underwear. He didn’t have a care in the world. The caption said, “Summer is our favorite.” This struck me so hard. She wasn’t waiting for her dream house or for all her ducks to be in a row to provide her kid (or herself!) with happy moments. She was making the best out of what she had and he… he looked so happy. I think she always understood a fundamental fact of existence that I have struggled with so much – you don’t need things to be any certain way to enjoy your life.
It’s just a deck but this kind of demonstrates how I live my entire life. I get so focused on what I would rather have and if people will judge me for I currently have that I can’t enjoy… anything. But you know what this deck does have? Railing and a gate that contains my almost toddler so that she can crawl around and I can sit without having to worry about her falling off. It has enough space to add some chairs, a small table, a baby pool, and a slide.
So, this year, I bought an outdoor rug. I hung some flowers. I added some solar lights. I bought a citronella candle. The furniture I have out here is cheap. But it’s functional. Now, I have a 3rd baby proofed area where my child can play. She gets bored quickly. She doesn’t appreciate how deep and momentous this is. She crawls around for a few minutes, finds a stick to chew on, puts her hand in the pool, and then crawls over to me, fussing because she wants to nurse. But since making this space more inviting I’ve also enjoyed a pleasant glass (okay, bottle) of wine and good conversation with a friend here. It’s been a great spot to meditate and just sit and enjoy the privacy and solitude that living deep in the country offers. And just now, it’s a nice place to watch the fireflies while I write a few lines for the blog that is also ugly, unfinished, and not in the state I would like it to be in. And that’s okay. I don’t want to let the absence of perfection prevent me from doing things that bring me enjoyment or help me find purpose now.