For the last three weeks, we’ve hosted nonstop. Old friends, new-to-us friends, and relatives, they came from all over: Puerto Rico, Honduras, Ethiopia, upstate New York, Staten Island, Maryland, down the road, and next door. Sometimes we had multiple families and cultures simultaneously.
Just to give you a taste, two snapshots:
*One night I went to bed early. When I got up a couple hours later to go to the bathroom, my older son was stretched out on the sofa chatting with my older daughter who was fixing herself a snack. Upstairs, my younger son was still listening to books on tape, the Fresh Air boy was awake, flopping around in his bed, and my younger daughter was visiting with one of her PR friends in my older daughter’s room, all the lights ablaze.
*Another night, I got up at 1:30 to bring the dogs in because they wouldn’t stop barking and we had guests sleeping above them in the clubhouse. My sister-in-law was on the sofa, my brother-in-law in my older son’s bed (not with my older son — he was housesitting for neighbors), and one of my nieces was perched on the picnic table, visiting with one of our PR friends. (They stayed up until three.)
I’m normally a regimented person, ticking the boxes on my to-do list, but when I get hit by a people tsunami, all order flies straight out the window. I take it one day — sometimes one hour — at a time. My priority changes from accomplishing tasks to relationships: being present, having fun, relaxing, listening, and, of course, cooking. It’s exhausting, yes, but the change in routine is invigorating, too.
And, quite frankly, the timing couldn’t have been better. Thanks to the sudden onslaught of garden produce, I probably wouldn’t have gotten much writing (or anything else) done these last several weeks anyway. As it was, I got to chop cucumbers and slice nectarines, roast tomatoes and red beets, and make pesto, all while keeping tabs on the multitudes streaming in and out of my house.
Things are beginning to settle down again. The bulk of the produce is slowing, and our live-in guests have returned to their homes, or to their new (!) apartments in town. Sunday, our first day that was (mostly) just us at home, we slept in and skipped church, ate leftovers and sprawled around the living room reading books,and catching up on computery things.
Soon enough, I’ll get back to my regular writing schedule. For now, I’m savoring the calm.
This same time, years previous: the quotidian (8.16.18), Murch mania 2017, glazed lemon zucchini cake, a new friend, horses, hair, and everything else under the sun, the quotidian (8.6.12), why I am recuperating, dishes at midnight.