Welcome to My Mess
Even with my shortcuts, my kitchen was a quite a mess after getting all of the ingredients chopped and prepped for this salad. I'm sure the minute-to-minute interruptions by my 3-year-old and my very eager puppy thwarted my efforts to clean-up as I went along. The mess wasn't limited to the kitchen either. After all, the puppy and my little girl had been entertaining themselves as I chopped away in the kitchen.
I glanced at the clock realizing that my Monday Lunch friends would be arriving soon. Happily their food would be ready. However, the atmosphere of my home was going to leave a lot to be desired. That is when I panicked. Even though I have known these ladies for over a decade and certainly have nothing to prove to them, I still feel the need to present a neat a tidy picture when they arrive. I prefer to run the vacuum, do the dishes, wipe off the counters and maybe even make sure the toilet in the main floor bath is flushed...yes I do like to go the extra mile when entertaining. On a good day I might even have the table set.
This was not a good day.
As I paused for a moment to take a deep breath and prioritize which mess I would tackle in the few moments I had, I remembered something I'd recently heard on the radio. Jennifer Fulwiler and one of her guests were discussing the fact that we rarely, in this day and age, just drop in on one another.
Instead we arrange and plan to get together so that we have time to clean, have just the right food and drink on hand and present a neat and tidy picture to one another of what our lives are like. They posed the question, " What might happen if we let each other into our real lives?"
Dirty dishes in the sink.
Cheerios and goldfish crunching underfoot.
Couches covered in clothes that kids (and perhaps husbands) shed as they walk through the door.
I found this question intriguing and realized that what may happen is that we all might breathe a big sigh of relief.
Whenever I frantically rush around cleaning the house before company arrives I think back to memories of my mother doing the same thing. When my kids or husband question why I need everything just so when it only lasts for the first 10 minutes our guests are in the house I just say that's how I was raised.
As I think about it now, that's true, but only to a point. Yes, my mom always wanted things just so before company came and wanted to make a good impression. However, what I had forgotten is that, growing up, we lived in a neighborhood where neighbors visited each other...UNANNOUNCED! I can still hear the two knocks and the "Hello?", an agreed upon way to enter one another's homes in our neighborhood. That's right, we didn't even wait for someone to answer the door!
Neighbors came over for a quick visit without warning or invitation and we did the same at their homes. And do you know what...it was real. Yes, I'm sure there were dishes in the sink and piles of laundry on the floor. But guess what, everyone survived and they were probably more genuine friends because of it.
Now for Jennifer Fulwiler's next question, "Who will go first?" Who will be the first to say, "Welcome to my mess"? I say we give it a try. Let's be brave enough to let each other into our real lives and watch the relief on one another's faces when we relax and realize...oh good, you live like this too!
So, I'll go first...if you know me and you're in the neighborhood consider yourself invited to drop by. You'll probably find me in sweats, hair piled on top of my head and make-up undone. There will be a mess of toys and clothes on the floors and probably some dishes in the sink. If I happen to be making my new favorite salad, I'll share some with you...once we clear a few spots at the most likely messy table.
The Simplicity Buff
Talk Back to the Trio
What do we make it mean when we can present a clean, perfect house? Is it real?