I had a really good conversation with a friend in my kitchen the other day. We were both sitting in stained, mismatched chairs around my kitchen table. Small children and upholstered seats don't go well together, at least in my house. I'd invited her to stop by with her daughter on a whim so I had no real snacks or sparkling water to offer. If she'd shown up twenty minutes earlier and hungry there wouldn't have been enough sliced turkey to go around and I would have had to offer her cheerios or a hotdog. And then she would have seen that we've only replaced the shelves in two of our kitchen cabinets. If she or her sweet four year old had needed to use the bathroom I would have had to choose between our "aesthetically under construction" but in perfectly fine working order powder room or our alien flesh colored upstairs hall bathroom that wouldn't look clean even if I gave it a better go more often.
And as they walked in and the children ran upstairs, I offered her a seat. She mentioned she was a kitchen person so that's where we sat. And we talked. We talked about the dirty seats, the counter tops we wish we could replace. The dust that was most definitely visible now by the end of the week in more than just the corners. The fact that there were several softer and prettier places we could be sitting in right then just rooms away but this visit wasn't about that. It was just about being present in someone else's life. Just hanging out. Although we did talk about pretty fabrics and upholstered hostess chairs and snow days and all the things people talk about when they're sitting in a kitchen at 2:00 in the afternoon listening to children play upstairs and parade through their conversation with marching bands and fashion shows.
And this all got me really thinking. We're headed into two years, this summer, in this house. We have kicked butt in the makeover department. My husband has single-handedly transformed our house through countless hours and a commitment to improving our surroundings. When I go back and look at our before pictures, upstairs tour || downstairs tour, I want to invite the whole world in to see how far we've come. And actually I do. Every single day I invite the world into my home and my life. I proudly show you our before and afters and our progress shots and our process along the way. Not to be cliche but life's a journey not a destination and I feel so firmly those words are true. Because I love to play house and I love to share. This is an easy one for me.
So would you be surprised to realize that not including my large family, I've invited maybe 10 people into my home in person. What the heck? What a small number. What the heck? I love to entertain! I have a few people that come over all the time and another list of people I want to invite back. And more even that I'd love to host. I've been planning girls nights and play dates in my head but I keep waiting until we have better chairs in the kitchen....until we have a fully renovated powder room....until the deck is fixed and finished....until....until....
What a grand disservice I'm doing to myself and others to assume that they are entering the heart of my home to judge me in such insignificant measures. To size up who has newer or nicer or better taste. Can you imagine how absurd it would sound to say out loud, Y'all I can't wait to invite you over but I'm going to wait until things are perfect. I expect perfection. And with that, I'm expecting it of you as well. How ridiculous! And how far from how I really feel. I certainly didn't repaint my front hall or buy new throw pillows for my sofa to remind my friends that they didn't. They aren't going on vacation or getting a new sink to remind me that I'm not. We're all living our own life. What matters to me doesn't have to matter to you. The only thing that matters is that good feeling you have sitting down with a friend and laughing. Or sharing a part of yourself. Even over a glass of water on an old seat.
What matters is loving yourself and your home and sharing that good feeling with others. So my new goal for myself is to make more connections going forward. Invite more people into my home. I want to experience some of that good hospitality that makes me so happy.
Deep thoughts for a Monday, hope you've got your coffee!
And I'm curious, do you do this as well? Are you hesitant to invite someone over when there's no time to stock the fridge or vacuum? Do you notice those things upon entering a home? I know I don't. Three toys on the floor in my own family room makes me cringe but I could walk into the most lived in and chaotic, to a degree, house and not notice anything more than a friendly welcome and a yummy candle. Always light a good candle!
Do you even like entertaining? It exhausts some and I get that. But I thrive on it and I'm going to start doing more of what makes me happy. More living in the present and being thankful for all that I have and sharing that with others.