My natural inclination is to welcome any guest into a clean and nice smelling house, preferably with warm lighting and occasion-appropriate music.
This isn’t because my guests (bless them) demand perfection, or because I believe in some outdated standard of domestic presentation. It’s because A) My house is small and always a work-in-progress, and tidy sanitation at least subdues the… let’s say character, B) I function and relax better in a mostly ordered atmosphere, and C) Guests are great motivation for those necessary (but too rarely done) tasks like cleaning the sink/toilet and sweeping the floors.
Switching gears. Over the past several years, I’ve made efforts toward being comfortable with myself. This means everything from diet and exercise for health to reading things that inspire me to joining groups and classes on my own. Wow – I sound like a 30-something…
Part of this is allowing my human “flaws” to show. Think, leaving the house without makeup, and not just to run to the store, but to a casual restaurant. Or, letting someone through the front door even though a dining room chair is falling apart and the kitchen smells like bad shrimp.
Over the weekend, we had lunch with some out-of-town friends who also have a two year-old. As their daughter would be spending the afternoon in her car seat, we realized the best thing was for us to hang out at the house. If said friends are reading this, it was lovely as always, and we are so SO glad we got to see you. Also, thank you for staying, despite the cobwebs and unfinished bathroom walls.
Now, again, I realize no one (at least, not the awesome, real people we call friends) expects our house to look magazine shoot ready. Still, like I said, it’s just easier for me to relax when I know the bottom of the porcelain sink is white (not scum and tea-stained brown) and yesterday’s oatmeal is wiped from Iris’ play stove.
Like the house, I am also a perpetual work-in-progress.
I am learning to draw a line when it comes to preparing for house guests. I am learning that, sometimes, seeing me in my natural(ish) habitat might actually put visitors more at ease than would a sparkling, new counter and perfectly fluffed bathroom rug. Nourish the body, mind and connection, and feel the aesthetics fade into the background.
Disarray is part of being human. The fun is finding the calm at the heart of this wild existence. It’s where the good stuff happens.