Sunday, May 2, 2010


1 a: a person entertained in one's house b: a person to whom hospitality is extended

post-dinner dress up

Recently, the girls and I joined my friend M for dinner at her house. I've been friends with our host for a few years - we have, at various times, been in a writing group together, in Bible study together, at the beach hanging out together. But the girls didn't know her until last night. On our ride over, they quizzed me.
"Is she married?" "No."
"How do you know her?" "We were in Bible study together."
"Have I ever seen her?" "I'm not sure."
"Does she have children?" "No."
"Then why does she have dress up clothes?" "You'll have to ask her."
I was looking forward to the evening. I've enjoyed reading about M's quest to have one hundred people over for dinner this year. It's a fascinating concept, but it exhausts me a little to think about it. In a typical week, I'm content to simply feed my family. I enjoy entertaining, but I prefer big parties quarterly to quiet gatherings weekly. I guess this is better suited to my introverted style - have one big blow out that requires a big expenditure of energy and then resume my quieter day to day life.

My girls love hosting parties big or small. K in particular wants to feed anyone who happens by our house. (When I was recovering from my surgery, a friend brought me some homemade marshmallows and K insisted on giving snacks to my friend and her children.) They also know what hosting is all about. A once said to me, "Mom, can we have friends over? I'll clean my room." One of the few things that could prompt my messy eldest daughter to offer to clean her room is the possibility of guests.

Yet a typical week finds us eating nearly every evening meal at home together as a family, so last night's dinner outing was a treat. M had prepared dumpling contents and the girls got right to work making their own. K took the vegetarian route: corn, mushrooms and sunflower seeds were in every dumpling she made. A and B came up with their own variations (and were willing to include a bit of protein in their dinner).

And you know what? My girls were great guests. They chatted amiably, talked to each other so that M and I could chat, participated in dinner table conversation and were respectful guests. But they were still themselves. They weren't mini-adults. They laughed, they joked, they asked lots and lots of questions. And I wouldn't have it any other way. I want them to be polite and well-mannered, but I also want them to be kids. I want their exuberance to shine through and delight others the way it delights me.

I'm thankful that my friend M extended her hospitality to us and grateful that my daughters are confident enough in themselves to be exactly who they are, whether they are host or guest.

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