make yourself at home

The guest is always right

Reuniting with friends makes daily routines feel like celebrations.

Photo by Katie Rainbow on Pexels
Photo by Katie Rainbow on Pexels
  • Palm Coast Observer
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Twice in the past few weeks, my family played host. And that means we let people get away with anything.

For example, I usually avoid Silly String at any cost. I would climb a tall mountain to escape from it. I would certainly be opposed to spending my hard-earned money to buy multiple bottles of it and letting 15 small children spray it all over my patio. And yet, because those small children were guests at Luke’s 5-year-old birthday party, I made sure everyone had the chance to make a mess, which I cleaned up with a smile on my face.

Similarly, I usually tell my own children to drink water from the tap, rather than giving them water bottles. But when family friends visited for the weekend recently, I happily handed them bottles of water, knowing that they would, in many instances, drink 13% of the water and leave the bottle on the counter for me to pick up later.

In both cases -- after the birthday party and after our friends had left -- I felt tremendous gratitude, not because the house was quiet again but because of the good memories we were able to make in my home. I found myself looking forward to seeing everyone again. In the case of the visit from our family friends, who had flown to Florida from out of the state, I was already starting to plan the next reunion.

But then I realized that, someday, my wife, Hailey, and I will spend lots of money and travel time just for the chance to be around the same dinner table again with our own children as adults, re-enacting the old routines and rhythms of life that we are acting out now when they’re children.

Someday, these routines will feel sacred, not stressful.

Someday, I will hand my grandchildren bottles of Silly String, if that’s what will make them happy. 

Do I need to wait?

Or can I make tonight’s dinner and dishes and bedtime routines feel more like a reunion?


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