We’ve had a glut of company this month and the two previous. I think it’s a combination of a more relaxed summer schedule (for us all), and we’ve also hit the time period where we’ve been in a new place long enough to comfortably host. That, and being in a place that warrants a visit.
It’s been good. A welcome distraction from the busyness of the everyday routine that somehow sucks you in and without realizing it, time passes with no real markers. We tend to take a lot more pictures and etch a lot more memories when we have friends and family here to enjoy them with us.
I often feel inadequate as a host, though I’m sure this is a common feeling that prevails over most of us, save for the few that are incredibly talented in this area and enjoy life filled up in every aspect. But the only way to overcome inadequate feelings and imperfections is to practice through them. So that’s what I strive for.
It’s been a season of running the dishwasher twice a day in order to have enough drinking glasses and silverware (why we don’t just buy another 8 sets, I do not know yet. Eight forks seemed like more than enough when we were first married and our family took up two chairs at the dining table).
It’s been eating out at our “old” favorites and trying some new ones. Recommended dishes described over the tops of our menus.
It’s been staying up too late because when the kids go to bed our conversations continue without interruption and that is a small luxury. We’ve played games and eaten homemade cheese popcorn, the ice in our drinking glasses melting and condensation dripping down, making small pools on the table. These are the things that remind us of when we were young and didn’t need a babysitter for such things.
Our A/C worked overtime these months. Both because of the ninety-plus degree days but also a sure sign we have company. We worry that our lifestyle of scrimping on things like air and favorite foods won’t be enjoyable for them so we roll out the red carpet. It’s a treat for us too.
Our house has been packed with small children during these times. And we feel so thankful that we finally feel we have a house that can accommodate them well. A fenced in yard, a cul-de-sac to ride bikes, a playroom away from the common areas, and three eating areas with enough seats for thirteen bottoms. These things we have longed for in our previous houses and have served us well in our short time here.
Having guests has pushed us to explore parts of our city that always felt a little frivolous to pay for or drive to when it was just our family of five. Though I do always wish when we arrive that we were a little more seasoned and confident in our leadership. For example, we could not find the promised playground in Centenniel Park and ended up walking too far and then giving up all together for the sake of the little legs and heat beading up on our necks and the lack of stroller space. We ended up doing plan B and it was fine (and fun!), but I hate to drag friends into that.
When you have people over to your house, especially if they spend the night, you reach a certain level of intimacy with them that is virtually impossible to otherwise do, especially if you have children. There is no time limit on your conversations, sometimes you see each other in less than flattering situations, like with the morning dew still on your face, and your children misbehaving, and a little bit of marital discord (like when you disagree about the direction of the playground…).
But intimacy breeds closeness and talks about adoption and unknown futures and future fears and items that don’t normally get discussed because you are usually on a two hour time limit and you can barely cover surface level in that amount of time, get crossed over and beyond. Conversations that start in the morning get finished in the afternoon and dissected in the evening.
It’s been a good season. One that I’m sure God has given to us in bounty due to the coming changes, as surfacing on the horizon. One thing we didn’t know 4 months ago is that our “guest room” would soon be turned into a full-time used room, come March (or possibly sooner). We intended to put “all three” girls in the same sister room, but the addition of the fourth made us reconsider. Now I think we’ll do two and two, but will lose the guest room in the process (it was either the guest room or my “sewing room”/office, so something we use seasonably, or daily. Seasonably won).
We will hopefully still be able to accommodate the more adventurous guests (my in-laws have promised us they will be fine on an air mattress in the playroom…), but I also know our life will slow predictably, for a short season, at least, with our new one. And adventurous outings to the city won’t come as easily or often.
So I’m thankful for what we’ve been able to squeeze in during this short time, and know/hope it is a promise for more to come. We feel the sands shifting beneath us again as we seek to change, once again, but know that with each change, our life has become even more rich and full than possibly imagined.
May it be so.