When we bought our house five years ago, I had always pictured it full of people; family, friends, even strangers would be welcome. I wanted our home to be a place where people would gather, and fill it up with the sounds of laughter and the smells of good food. I wanted people there on holidays, birthdays, special occasions…even on an average day for an impromptu visit. No notice necessary, just pop by. Shove the pile of laundry aside and take a seat.
In the beginning I got my wish. Just one week after moving in, we hosted a graduation party for my sister after she earned her MBA (somehow we managed to have more to sit on than just moving boxes!). After that came the birthdays, Thankgivings, New Years Eves, game nights with friends, dinners, Super Bowls…we were even creating our own holidays just for an excuse to have people over.
After our daughter was born, our entertaining dropped off dramatically, and understandably. Unlike some of my friends who admirably and seemingly seamlessly integrated their newborn into their lives and routines, having an infant in my life, while being everything I dreamed it would be, completely turned my world upside down in a way I didn’t imagine. I felt like I could barely get it together enough to do a load of laundry let alone host some friends for the evening. So much of it had to do with the fact that our daughter
was is a terrible sleeper, but also a constant nurser in that first year, and I’d be up and down the stairs every half hour to an hour around the clock to breastfeed. It was nearly impossible to get through a movie; forget a party or any sort of gathering after we put her to bed. And, now that she’s a toddler, the thing I’m hosting most often these days is playdates.
It wasn’t until I hosted my sister’s baby shower at the house this past weekend that I realized what I’ve been missing – that feeling of fullness when the house is packed with people. Standing in the middle of shower guests, surrounded by the energy in the room, I vowed to have more people over the house, be it two at a time or fifty.
I have dreams of being the house where my daughter’s high school friends will want to gather after school. They’ll hang out in our living room while I park myself around the corner in my newly renovated and expanded kitchen (coughcoughnudgenudge). Whether they’re playing games or working on a school project together, our house would be a logical place to meet given that the school is at the top of our street. They’ll feel comfortable enough to put their feet up on the furniture and help themselves to what’s in the fridge. My fantasy ends with the kids wanting to take their prom pictures in our backyard.
We may not have the biggest house, but my hope is that people sense the love here and want to be part of it and add to it. I want our home to have a future, in addition to its history, of embracing people within its walls.