1 a : one that receives or entertains guests socially, commercially, or officially
Leaving a friend's house today, B remarked, "Well, that was more fun than I thought it would be." B is never one to mince words, but it was still a bit funny to hear her admit she hadn't thought she'd enjoy her time. It was an impromptu visit. My friend offered cucumbers from her garden on Facebook and I replied. We would be near her neighborhood mid-day during A's dance lesson, so I could easily swing by and grab some to go in our dinner salad. She offered lunch and hang out time during ballet. And it was as easy as that.
As we headed back to pick A up from dance, B admitted that she hadn't thought she'd have fun because these friends have two boys. We're definitely to the age with our girls where they prefer same gender friends. But we talked about how easy it is to be with this family. They make you feel right at home from the moment you walk into their home. And no matter girl or boy, they are inclusive, a far more important trait in a good host than a certain gender. There are girls who aren't nearly as welcoming and kind as these boys were today. And their inclusive, easy-going play left B, K and I all three refreshed.
Yesterday we hosted a group from our church for lunch. Most of the people live in our neighborhood and many of them have children. It was a full house, with adults and children scattered here, there and everywhere. Seats at the dining room table were filled, spots on the couch and at the bar were occupied - even the living room floor was packed with picnicking children. It was great.
Near the end of our gathering, a friend said to me, "This went so well. I kept thinking how much easier this was at your house than it would have been at mine. The children just spread out into different rooms and let us all talk." I thanked my friend for her comment and admitted that I sometimes long for the large open spaces of a suburban home, if only I could get it in my urban neighborhood. Our home isn't particularly designed for entertaining. The rooms aren't large and their size and layout doesn't make it easy to offer lots of seating. But everyone in our family loves to have parties, big or small.
My experience today at my friend's house reminded me all over again that your home doesn't have to be perfect for people to be comfortable there. In fact, I think it's a bit easier to be comfortable in a space that isn't arranged "just so." The friend we visited today has a lovely home - decorated with pictures of friends and family, artwork by her children and color everywhere - but it won't be making the cover of House Beautiful anytime soon. Nor will my own home.
But I hope our family makes others feel included, welcome and at home when they're here. Because what's the use of having a home if you don't throw the doors wide open and welcome people in?