I don’t know what it is about sitting on a porch swing with a cup of coffee that just soothes my soul. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, I always carve out part of my day at least a few days a week to spend on my porch swing.
In the winter I bundle up in my cozy sweatpants and a big quilt. In the summer I am not above sharing Popsicles with my three little ducklings while they run in and out of the water sprinklers.
I’m actually here right now.
I’m exhausted because life (mostly because it’s that’s time of the month and y’all know I love some TMI). I have a sick kiddo. I’ve not been working out like I should. I’ve been eating terribly and so I just stopped everything and went to my swing.
And I was sitting here thinking back to when I first started loving a good afternoon on the porch swing with peace and quiet. We’ve lived in this house for almost 5 years but it was long before we put up this yellow swing that I made this a must-do in my life.
I sat on both of my grandparents’ swings as a child. My dad’s mom died when I was nine but I remember many evenings swinging and talking on their screened in patio. The adults would chit-chat and I would pretend that that little patio was my house.
My mom’s parents also had a porch swing in the front and in the back of their house. I was sitting on their back porch swing when Papaw grabbed a Kleenex from his shirt pocket and pulled out my first tooth. I spent countless hours swinging with them outside. I honestly don’t even remember what was discussed, I just remember being with them.
My parents have a breezeway between the house and the garage that has a swing we’ve spent many afternoons drying off from a long day of swimming. A lot of life has been talked about on that swing. The first (and only) time I got ISS (in school suspension), they sat on the swing asking why I skipped class. After pleading my case, trying to hold back a smirky laugh, my dad asked, “Well whose idea was it?” and I knew then that I’d been had. As a school-age kid I spent summer days playing “I Spy” with my friends while the younger daycare kids napped. We made games out of games and our imaginations still shock me.
Relaxing on my porch swing has been such a big part of my own life that it is just a natural way for my own kids to wind down also. When they are restless in the house or feeling down with a sickness, our front porch is one of the first places we go. Many meltdowns have been avoided by me asking one simple question. Do you want to go swing?
They regularly ask if we can go outside and swing. By regularly, I mean about 45 times a day. Often refusing to run out and play, they just simply want to sit on the swing with me while I rub their backs or play with their hair. We listen to Toddler Radio on Pandora or sing our own songs.
It is the calm to my hectic and loud life. It’s a bit of my past mixed with my present that I know will last into the future. I discuss all sorts of important things with my four-year-old when we are on our porch watching the birds and squirrels. We talk about the seasons changing, what she wants for Christmas and how she wants to live with Mommy and Daddy forever. I’ve learned about her friends from preschool and what she wants to be when she grows up. I plant pieces of security in her mind that I pray stick when she finds herself in a situation out of her control. Some days I do all the talking, some days she does. She opens up to me on the porch swing and I learn about her in a way that I otherwise wouldn’t.
My kids get my undivided attention when we are there. I’m not shewing them away so I can load the dishwasher or sweep underneath the table. I’m not getting up for endless glasses of milk or changing diapers. I’m not preparing food or putting sheets on the bed. I’m not engrossed in a television show or hiding in the pantry to eat a cookie. It may be the only time they get 100% of their mom and I’m not even sure I realized it until I started writing this blog. I’m just glad that there is a time that they get all of me. Having three kids back-to-back will spread a Momma thin.
The tricky thing about parenting is you are constantly wondering if you are doing it right. Just this morning I was having an internal conversation with myself. Am I a parent who expects too much from my kids or am I a parent who does not expect enough from them? I’m not sure which is worse or where I stand. We live in a time consumed by social media and there are opinions everywhere. Eeeeeeeverywhere. What your kids should and shouldn’t eat. Why they should or shouldn’t get a participation trophy. Whether or not to give them a flu shot. Home school vs. public school. Are pageants good or bad? To buy them extravagant gifts or no? Should they be given an allowance? There are all types of moms and all types of dads. We all believe our method is the best but when it comes down to it I think we are all pretty clueless.
Our dinners aren’t always spent around the table. I don’t always (ever?) read five books at bedtime. Bath time is sometimes rushed with lots of tears and little play. We don’t always go to the park and I probably look at Facebook more times a day than most people consider appropriate. But I have my porch swing and the discussion and love that comes with it.
I like to think we’ve found our happy there.