FedEx, Delayed Gratification, and Building Paradise

A few days ago a FedEx delivery man came to my house with a package. We exchanged pleasantries as he handed it to me and then he turned to leave. As I was closing the door he turned back to me and declared what a beautiful home we have; he seemed especially enamored with the flower beds in front of the house. He actually gushed, asking where we got our pavers, the types of flowers, all the while looking at it all with a bit of wonder. I answered his questions, thanked him and he was on his way but his words, especially the enthusiasm behind them, stuck with me and caused some contemplation. 

When I was a little girl my grandmother had a beautifully landscaped yard with old growth trees in rows, trimmed hedges, and not one but two bench swings. I thought it was paradise. She’s since passed away but I still drive past her house multiple times per week (it’s on my route, I’m not stalking the house!) and I still love that yard. And now I realize, thanks to the gushing of a stranger, that although the details are different (roses instead of hedges, woods instead of trees in rows, etc.) we’ve built our own beautifully landscaped, albeit modest, yard. 

It’s taken a long time, we built this house 14 years ago and it’s only been in the last couple of years that the yard has started to come together.   For a long time after we moved in we didn’t do much, we were tired from the arduous task of building the house ourselves and busy raising kids. Then, as the kids grew older, we started doing small projects. A pergola for the deck, a structure for the wood furnace, a bedroom in the basement. And, slowly but surely, landscaping for the front yard. I’ve often chastised myself for not doing well with delayed gratification; I’m easily frustrated when the rewards aren’t coming quickly enough. But now, thanks to the FedEx man, I know that I can follow through when it really matters to me. When the desire is pure and runs deep. 

We sit here a lot,on the front porch where I’m writing this, to catch up on the day, laugh at the hummingbirds, and just relax but now I’m trying to imagine what my (far in the future) grandchildren will think of it. They won’t know that the bird bath and bench, which look like they’ve always been in the front yard, were actually bought the first year we were married and moved multiple times before they found a home under the hickory tree. They won’t know the years of shoveling mulch year after year until we could finally, FINALLY afford to put rock in the flower beds. They’ll never sit on the uncomfortable chairs bought on clearance that had to do until we saved up for the outdoor furniture we have now. It won’t cross their mind that I once sat here admiring the yard before some future feature, yet to be imagined, even existed.  They won’t understand, like I didn’t swinging in my grandma’s yard, that these things are built over a lifetime. But I do think (hope) it will be a place of wonder like my granmother’s yard was for me. Their idea of paradise.