You know how life gets out of whack every once in a while? (Or maybe more often for some of us!)
It feels like you’ve lost your balance and for me it comes out in kind of humorous but practical ways. My house gets dirty, I fail to go grocery shopping and we end up eating something with rice for every meal, I never think about dinner until my husband’s already home (actually, that’s pretty normal…), Matthew starts wearing things I’ve never seen before because the laundry mountain is growing (“Really, I’ve had this for years!”), et cetera.
Then comes the 4th of July. A holiday commemorating our declaration of independence from Great Britain. A time of celebration as we revel in the countless blessings from God that this country affords us. The idea that each man is immensely full of worth, independent and can govern himself. Pretty cool stuff that we don’t think about every day. Then there are the traditions: barbecue, fireworks, games, family, the works.
A couple weeks ago, I had invited my family over for the 4th and had been preparing ever since. Kind of. It had been one of those off-kilter months and I had gotten a little distracted from my normal routine. Needless to say, life was out of balance. Lots of projects undone. Lots of rooms needing a dusting. I had been doing a lot of thinking, but not enough doing…
By the time Friday hit, I knew things would have to change so Matthew and I sat down and made an action plan.
1. Conquer the downstairs bathroom (Matt installed a toilet, mirror, light fixtures, trim, and a hook, and I added the towel and soap). Check.
2. Feed people. This involved a Saturday afternoon trip to Meijer on a holiday weekend (worst time EVER to go grocery shopping) and lots of prep for our beautiful kabobs. Aaaand there might have been a slight detour to Target to pick out new cute and summer-y plasticware. Check.
3. Clean the house. Because of my procrastination, this took all day the 4th of July up until about 5 p.m. Yeah… I was slow, but the place sparkled! Check.
Then the fam showed up at 6:15 and we had a fantastic time just sitting around the backyard eating, launching screamers, sipping lemonade, and talking. It was great! I love spending time with my family and this was actually the most meaningful part of the day (although it wasn’t quite complete until Matt and I mustered the energy to take our bikes downtown at 10 p.m. for fireworks).
But what was the point of all my housework? It got me thinking about our heavily-Martha-Stewart-influenced-society. I love their ideas, but Martha Stewart and others like her are just so good at what they do that the rest of us can either exhaust ourselves (and our wallets!) trying to make each party the epitome of perfection, or we can pretty much fail our job as a hostess. Ok, so I’m exaggerating, but you get my point. My question is, whatever happened to old-fashioned hospitality? The kind where your napkins don’t have to match your plates, and you don’t have to have a perfectly coordinated menu and drink selection as long as you actually ask someone over??
We put so much emphasis on the little details that sometimes it’s easy to forget the reason why we ask people over. It’s not to show off or perfect your hostess skills (although it is a good excuse to buy cute stuff!). Ultimately, it’s about the people you invite and spending time with them. That’s what is ultimately important.
Don’t get me wrong, I am one of those people who absolutely LOVES putting together those little details that make a party feel well-collected and trendy, but I sometimes wish there wasn’t any pressure to be like this.
Do any of you feel this way? Do you love the details? Do you wish you could simplify your get-togethers?
Challenge yourself to ask someone over, and keep it low-key. You won’t be disappointed, and your friend will be glad you asked!
One final piece of advice: USE PAPER PLATES, because conquering the aftermath of a good party should be simple too! ☺