Two short years ago we bought the house we live in now. We went from just the two of us, living in a two bedroom apartment, to owning our own home, in a much quicker span of time than I ever expected.
Buying the house was exciting. We’d been keeping our eyes out for a place for a while, but only toured three other properties before the day we made an offer on this one. My uncle, a realtor, took us through in the morning before the seller’s agent was holding an open house. We put in an offer, then called my in-laws on the pretence of getting their input at the open house. When our offer was accepted, I could hardly believe we were actually going to be homeowners.
Before we got possession we were already starting to fill the four bedrooms that our friends teased were meant for a plethora of future kids. My youngest sister came up to stay with us for a few months in the summer while our mom was in recovery from surgery. We were happy to have the space for her as well as the extra pair of hands to help clean up around the new (to us) house.
She returned home for a few more months until driving back up with my parents at Christmas time to start attending college in the spring semester. My mom stuck around for the semester and my dad popped in during school holidays to visit with the rest of us, and so we made good use of the beds they had brought with them. Oh, and they also brought the dog, which made things exciting when training my new puppy.
The fullest the house ever got was when my whole family, parents and both sisters were joined by my aunt and uncle for a few fun days of family board gaming.
Between then and now the population has fluctuated, hosting a variety of my relatives, including at one point, my future brother-in-law who was interning in my office. We were left to our own for a few months after the new baby was born, but now my sister is back as a house guest again.
Through all the visitors I have discovered two things: that I have an incredibly patient husband to put up with all my guests, and that I truly enjoy hosting them. I may not be an expert hostess with the nicest guest amenities, and I may be an introvert who needs time and space to myself without anybody nosy getting into my business, but I’d rather see “my people” too often, rather than not often enough.
I’m trying to find the balance, where I don’t feel overwhelmed at the intensity of cleaning necessary to host guests, nor the lack of quiet time to let my hair down, but being able to visit is a far cry from the homesickness I had to bear for the previous 5+ years. The best advice I have gotten with regards to making the time for guests is not to apologize for my messy house, but to recognize most people live in the same state and their judgement of my homemaking is unimportant. I am happy to have guests and happy to have the house full, in whatever shape that takes.