Monday, June 25, 2012

Guests become family

E and I are sitting in the TV room, trying to make as little noise as possible. There's a party at the other end of the house. A party of public school counselors, no less. And you should see how they party!  We're talking mineral water, tabouli, hummus, veggies...yep, these folks are wild and crazy. You can see why we needed to get out of their way.

This party--a retirement party for the man who's been their district supervisor for the last couple of decades--helped us get the public rooms in our home ready for the family who will arrive on Thursday. Beve LOVES hosting people. He takes after his mother that way. More is better for Beve, and he'd gladly have our house swell to capacity every moment of every day. And...that's exactly where we'll be this summer. In fact, this weekend, we'll set up a trailer in our driveway for an overflow bedroom for the young adult women who will need their own space (and who will likely stay awake giggling while the rest of us sleep). We'll have ten people in this house during July.

Some of these folks who are here today know us well and have been quite sympathetic about what we're facing, as if it's some kind of trial. But we don't see it this way at all. I worry about things like making sure everyone has a bed to sleep in, enough space so that they don't feel crowded and overwhelmed. I want my home clean enough that I'm not embarrassed by it, but also comfortable enough that people know they can actually live here. Be a part of us, sit at our table and enter into our family. That's what Beve has taught me. It's what his mother taught him. A true hospitality, I think.

Sure, I worry about menus because I'm lousy thinking of what to make for meals. Then I worry about making sure we actually have all the ingredients necessary to make said meals. But once those two things are organized, I can sit back and relax. I'm not a passionate cook, but that's okay. Especially now that I have grown daughters, one of whom (or maybe both) definitely has developed the passion I lack. There's pleasure in the cooking when cooking with someone who finds pleasure in it.

Then we sit at our table together. All of us. I learned this from my grandparents, my parents, my in-laws and the best of my friends. Beve and I believe in expanding our table so that we can all sit together. The sacrament of sharing in a meal is part of what we offer when we open our home. We join hands, lift our hearts, give thanks, eat together and share in the good that has been given. In taste, in word, in every other way.

So we look forward to the plenty that will be around our table this summer. Our family together. Beve's brother, his daughters, their mother, our children. Our Grampie. More family. My brother. Perhaps more family.

Many times Beve and I have heard the saying that guests, like fish, should be thrown out after three days. And we always look at each other and shake our heads sadly. Three days is just about the time it takes until our guests become family. And that's what we look for. Guests who become family. Family as guests who become family in our home.

Come, bring your suitcase, we'll clear out a drawer, and give you a bed. Put you to work and call you one of us.


Kristina said...

So sweet. I'm glad there are people like you two who are willing to host people and have them stay around longer than three days.

Elle said...

See you on Thursday!!