My BF Chellie and her family just left this morning. They were only with us a short time: barely 3 days. I felt like it was a really great visit. That is, I felt that way until they left, then I began to worry:
should I have stayed up later chatting instead of sticking to my routine? Why didn't I make it a priority to make Sangrias? Did I spend too much time hurrying the kids from activity to activity thus killing the natural-vacation-timeless-quality that inspires wonderful memories? Why didn't I pull my daughter out of school for 2 days, what's the big deal? Why didn't I make an apple pie like I'd originally planned? Why didn't I plan crock-pot meals so I didn't have to rush off to cook dinner? Did I spend enough one-on-one time with the kids? Why didn't we plan when we'd get together again?
Okay, (breathe), I feel better now. That's the ticker tape that starts to play for me. I don't think I'm the only one who has thoughts like these, thoughts that are a mixture of insecurity, guilt, regret, worry, and underneath it all: love. I love this family and I want their visit to be perfect. I want their visit to feel like a vacation. I want them to want to come back. I want their children to shout for joy at the prospect of spending 14 hours in a car if it means they get to stay at my house. I want Chellie's husband to beg to vacation each year in Massachusetts.
I recognize the truth in my desire to be a good hostess for my guests. I also recognize the narcissm. I want to be the hostest with the mostest. I want visits to my home to enter family lore as dream vacation destinations. I am not entirely confidant in my roles as chef, entertainment director, maitre'd, concierge, and tour guide. Really the only role in which I feel totally comfortable is that of friend. Perhaps that is the lesson I should take away from this experience: concentrate on being a good friend and let everything else fall into place.
Being a good friend...hmm...being open, honest, caring, loving, altruistic, kind, and patient. That sounds to me like everything I could ever want in a host.
So thank you for coming to my home Chel. Thank you for getting a pet sitter, packing up the house, the car, the kids, and the husband and hauling everyone 850 miles northeast. Thank you for understanding my limits as hostess and as a friend and for loving me anyway. I miss you already.
Come back soon.