If you know me you know that I love my front porch. By 6:30 a.m. you can find me sitting there most days watching the sun as it rises up over our property. This time is spent doing my morning devotions before my children are awake for the day.
At lunchtime in the summer you can find my children and I out on front porch eating. By mid-afternoon we tend to seek protection from the hot sun as we enjoy popsicles in the shade. In the evening as the sun nears the horizon, you will find us often out there enjoying the last little bit of daylight. I have spent many hours watching my children ride bikes, reading books, or visiting with relatives, friends, and family. Something magical happens on the front porch.
I grew up in a era and in a small town where front porch living was the norm. Mom’s would gather to catch up on the latest news while children ran around the yard. As a child I knew that one of the mom’s would bring out treats sooner or later for all of the kids. We knew we were not allowed in the house and loved being outside too much to do so anyway. If somebody did not have a front we gathered on the patio or pool deck.
Front porch living was a daily part of my summers while growing up. Some of the most precious memories I have were spent sitting with my grandparents and great grandparents listening to their stories. I can still recall stories from a few of my grandparents about growing up during the Depression, getting married at 15 years old, and raising their children on the farm. My great grandfather often spoke German to us grandkids, and even if we did not know what he was saying it was a treat to here him talk in his native tongue.
Other times I would just sit and rock while my aunt and I had talks about life. Or my many cousins and I would laugh and play card games on rainy days on the front porches in our family.
Summer time as a child seemed to last forever, so when I had my own children I was taken by surprise at how quickly they actually went. I knew early on in my parenting years that I wanted my children to be able to have simple summers like I did as a child.
The combination of cool summer breezes, minimal clothing, and front porch living is heaven to me. Relaxing and simple. It is a recipe for great conversation between parent and child, giggling children, old and young. Nothing compares to it. Before we moved back into the country a few years ago, we lived in town.
In town I had a front porch where I spent most of my summers with my children. Many memories were made as we sat there. There were many tears that fell, fears discussed, and dreams shared as we sat there.
My husband and I used to sit and in our rocking chairs on that front porch and talk into the morning hours. Through the death of our son, financial struggles, and other life struggles that front porch served as a safe place for us to talk. (More on the story of the death of our son, David Cooper.)
Here in northern Michigan we have a relatively short time frame where we can be outside wearing flip flops and tank tops. I know that in a few short months we can have snow on the ground. Just as the seasons change here in northern Michigan, so do the seasons of life. According to Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, wisdom recognizes that everything in life has its own season—in human activities as in the realm of nature. “There is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (3:1).
Seasons of life
Right now is flip flop, popsicle eatin’, and front porch living season. I know that just as summer goes by too fast, so does the season of having my children young and at home. Never perfect. Never quiet. We laugh loud, live loud, and love loud. Silent, it is not. This is a very loud season for me. Some day I will be in the quiet season of my life. One when my children are off living their own lives and making their own memories.
I can only pray that they remember fondly front porch living in northern Michigan during the summer time. Where we chose to live a simple life. One where we ate popsicles and discussed the hummingbirds that visited daily. Or one where they remember running through the sprinkler on hot summer days. Or all the bike races they had doing the loop around our driveway.
This season, the one I am in now, is enough for me. I am blessed to be right where I am, no matter how loud this season or how quiet this season is.