Saturday, August 21, 2004

Hospitality

The last few days just flew by, and along the way I got some lessons in hospitality.

On Wednesday morning we went to a MOMS Club playdate at a good friend's house, and my boys and I ended up staying until late afternoon! We had a great time. Her two kids and my two played and played, and my friend and I chatted about everything under the sun. At first I couldn't believe the kids and I didn't have to be somewhere else or do something else, and that it was really okay to stay. It was! We had food, and coffee, and plenty of room for kids of varied ages and two moms for an afternoon. The two of us moms even rocked on the porch swing and enjoyed cool breezes! It was so relaxing, such a pleasure.

Beginning Thursday evening, my family hosted another family to help them out of a tight spot. The mom was having outpatient surgery very early Friday morning, and the dad couldn't get out of work until later that day, so we figured out that their two kids would stay overnight with us, and in the morning I would pick her up and deposit the three of them at home.

Oh, but it didn't work out that way. Instead, at 7:55 am Friday morning, about 15 minutes after I'd gotten up — as I was about to start measuring and mixing up my Busy Mom's Coffeecake — her nurse called and said she was ready to be picked up in 30 minutes. Um, er, the surgery center is across the next town from us, 30 minutes from my house. And the kids and I are not dressed. Well, I did my best and we got there in 65 minutes, she checked out, and we bundled her into the van and headed back to our town. The kids and I hadn't actually eaten, so I suggested we all head to my house and eat breakfast.

It turned out to be the best thing. She dozed and relaxed on my sofa all day while our kids played and I kept her supplied with water and crackers... and chitchat when she was awake. (The pain meds really knocked her out at first.) The kids played really well together all day, both inside and outside. The next-door neighbor kids joined the outside play a couple of times. I remember reading at the dining table for a little while as the kids played. A friend came over for our regular playdate (with a phone call heads-up on the situation) and added another kid to the mix and that went well; all three of us moms enjoyed ourselves, too.

The whole day was remarkable for me. I used to actively avoid these situations, sure that I'd be too frazzled hosting other kids for a significant amount of time and that I wasn't very good at hosting gatherings. But over the years in MOMS Club I've learned to host playdates better; we've started having annual parties in winter (Twelfth Night, Jan. 5) and summer (Independence Day, July 4); and in this new house we're starting to have more people over (say, two families at a time) more often.

This went really well! I was fairly relaxed and yet kept a good eye on the kids. It was what my "outpatient friend" needed. Everyone was reasonably well fed. Conversations and such were good. There was enough variety in play ideas & locations and food and company that no one got to the irritable stage.

Of course, after we said goodbye to everyone and had our family and house to ourselves, I was tired! We ordered pizza, I treated myself to a beer, and I went to bed a bit early.

I'm still thinking about the hospitality thing. Hmm.

2 comments:

classical mom said...

Wow, what a blessing you were to that mother in need! I think what you did was Jesus living at it's best. Hospitality brings joy to everyone involved when it is done with the right spirit. And a hearty amen to the beer and pizza. I think more good was done by your serving your friend, than if you had not helped her but had spent your time in the kitchen. Blessings to you!

Kris Tamerius

Barbara said...

Thank you for the encouragement -- this is not an area of strength for me but rather an area of learning tons as I go!