For the first couple of days of our vacation last week, we stayed with The Engineer's nephew (only a year younger than him) and his family. They are a busy family! His nephew, J, is a teacher, and he works at a family jewelry store. J's wife, P, works as a nurse and teaches nursing at a college. Add in a six-year-old daughter and a five-month-old son, and I'm not sure how they do it all!
Yep, they're busy. And when I went into their house, I could tell. It was cluttered, with toys all over the place. When the kids made messes, P encouraged me not to worry about it.
Before we left, I said to P, "I'm going to tell you something, and I hope you don't take it wrong." That's probably not the greatest way to start a conversation, but I quickly continued. "I'm glad your house isn't perfectly clean. I feel like I can relax, without worrying that my kids are going to mess anything up."
P expressed relief and said she'd been concerned we'd think they were slobs. I'm actually glad they didn't stay up until all hours of the night trying to get the house "ready" for us.
In less than 20 years, their kids and ours will be grown, and we can give our homes the white glove treatment if we really want to. But until then, I appreciate J & P reminding me that a welcoming atmosphere has a lot more to do with how you treat your guests than with how organized your home is.
I haven't spent a lot of time with J & P, but I thoroughly enjoyed it last week. I'm looking forward to the next time our families can get together--whether it's at their messy house, or mine.