I remember a time in my life when I so looked forward to entertaining friends and family members in my home—good food, good wine, good music, good conversation… What’s not to like? Back in those days of yore, I would have a clean and well-decorated home, Diana Krall could be heard wailing from the iPod, and I had red wine and white wine glasses, fancy cheeses for appetizers, and candles in the guest bathroom. As I prepare to host my book club in my home at the present day, I must chuckle at the difference between now and then because, well, back then, EVERYTHING HAD TO BE PERFECT. Now, it’s OK if things are just “good enough”. Today, you will be a lucky guest in our home if you are not served your beverage in a sippy cup and you do not accidentally roller skate in our foyer due to random Matchbox cars underfoot. Laurie Berkner or Raffi will likely be our featured entertainer and instead of the fancy cheeses I used to purchase at specialty stores, you will most likely be munching on the Mickey Mouse cheese from Wal-Mart. It’s a possibility you could leave with a splitting headache from enduring an evening of the loud screeching my 18 month old is fond of and you may even be treated to a lesson in fashion and nail polish color selection by my three year old daughter. You might find a sticker stuck to your hind end after sitting on our couch (as was the case recently—I actually had a woman in Target stop me and tell me that I had a Cinderella sticker stuck to my seat) and if it gets too intense, I might thrust a four month old baby into your arms and allow you to feed him. He will then likely vomit on your shirt thus giving you the pleasure of smelling like my favorite fragrance, Eau de Good Start Formula. You will be a lucky guest if I am not in my pajamas/bathrobe when you come to the door and even luckier if I have brushed my teeth for the day. As crazy and unglamorous as this all sounds, to be honest, I would pick it any day over the childless hostess I had once been. I now know the value of handprints on my sliding glass door and purposely don’t dust them off. I realize now that no one really noticed if I had red wine glasses for red wine and white wine glasses for white wine. The fancy cheeses could have been replaced with more economical versions and no one would have known the difference. Though the screeching might make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, I prefer his natural music to Diana Krall (though I do still love her…) Maybe it is because I am older and therefore wiser (HA!) or maybe it is because I have little people in my life that show me what is really important—regardless of the reason, I try not to put my family through misery before we are hosting guests in our home. Though I like the house to be clean for you, it won’t be perfect. You might have to tell me to replace the toilet paper in the guest bathroom or that there was a dirty diaper left in the kitchen trash can. You won’t leave our house hungry but you may not have the most gourmet meal on the planet. It’s really all about spending time together and at least you will know that we enjoyed your company and you will get a glimpse into the real life of our family. I stopped trying to be Martha Stewart and now just try to focus on enjoying our guests—the “good enough” hostess is “good enough” for me.
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling—1 Peter 4:9