In a month we will be having family come and stay with us. Right now I hunger for family time as my grandfather just passed. I feel guilty that he hadn't seen his great granddaughter since summer. Finances got in the way. I don't want other things to get in the way of family relationships. Other things... Yes, there are always too many other things.
I am really looking forward to the hugs and laughter and to watching our children play. We don't get to see each other often enough. With growing children, though, even a few months apart encompasses many milestones and transitions. If during the visit we simply just sit around and have a barbecue with family, it will be special. I welcome them to stay with us as it provides a personal opportunity for a little more visiting. But even though I can't wait for that weekend, I still find the idea of company rather stressful.
I am sure the blood pressure of many housewives rises proceeding a full house. Or, to the least extent, their to-do list somewhat lengthens. All the regular housework that needs to be done and presentable on the day of arrival. (Don't ever decorate with black cabinets. Especially under a skylight that accentuates the dust that forms in just half a day from toilet paper. Who knew?) Then a few extras, like cleaning up a accumulated clutter. But, indubitably, it does result in more checks off the list than regular day to day, no-one-is-coming over living. Nothing cleans the house better than the anticipation of a dynamic dinner party or of curious company visiting.
I should really encourage more "drop in" socializing. Then, for my own sanity, I would have to up-keep a little more effectively. And let a little more go. I don't mind a mess once in a while but it sure is humbling when a tornado blows through the kitchen right before the door bell rings. Or the dog molts a whole new puppy worth of hair onto the freshly vacuumed carpet.
Our church held a conference last month and people came from other cities to attend. Instead of paying to stay in hotels they were graciously offered billeting. Time was spent together and the value of the weekend was immensely increased by getting to know each other.
I have an unused queen bed. I have the room to accommodate someone. I even have an extra bathroom. We love to have people over for meals. My daughter treasures having company. We should be opening up our home. But I didn't. Though my husband suggested it, he did not push it. Why not? Because his wife is a little crazy.
Perfection was my goal once. But it was such a lofty, unattainable goal that filled me with anger and discouragement. It made it hard to prioritize because everything was something that needed to be done. So often, nothing got done. When we were trying to adopt, the social worker came to check our home and said if I wanted to keep the interior as tidy as I had it I would be cleaning for over an hour a day. At the time I didn't really see how that time allotment would be unachievable.
Now I know better. I clean up toys and a high chair and books and dirty diapers all day. Then I can try to do the routine duties like dusting and laundry. And with a baby there is definitely more laundry. Sure, I could prioritize housework every day. But I'd rather enjoy my family. Which is all fine and dandy. Until company comes. Then the deep cleaning is a little behind (ugh, that fridge!) and the papers are piled up and the guest shower still needs to be caulked.
I tell myself they don't care. As long as they are safe and it doesn't smell (time to scrub the diaper pail). But those perfectionist roots are still lurking and whispering accusations into my ear. Cobwebs, fingerprints, dirty windows, stains. No matter how much you clean, dirt remains! The cupboards, the shelves, the closets, the stuff. Keep it or toss it, decisions are tough! I don't just fret over the clean-up, but also the organization and the presentation.
I still worry about what people think. And about how honest they are about what they think. I have many dear friends, even a husband, who I have seen say, "Don't worry, it's okay" about something when I know it isn't. So deep down I don't want to give them any room to judge. Which is just silly. We all judge on different levels. Even I have felt uncomfortable in a home because I was afraid to use the untouched soap and towel.
Some people like cozy, fabric-laden, fluffy and home made. Others like sleek and tidy and sanitary. Some like gadgets and doodads and gizmos. Others like natural and simple and plain. Some like noisy and some like serene. Some like dim and some like bright.
But they'd all probably like their host to be positive, sociable, kind. They definitely wouldn't want to feel their presence is a burden. That's why I am glad I have this great family coming to stay. They know I am growing. And they know that no matter what, I want them here. I can't wait!!