Months ago when (in)RL was announced, it seemed so far in the future. Plenty of time to plan. Plenty of time to clean. Plenty of time to morph into the hostess with the mostess.
So I bravely signed up. Of course I would host! No problem!
But guess what? Now it’s April and I haven’t done much planning, I haven’t done much cleaning, and I can promise you that I will not be the (in)RL hostess with the mostest. I feel queasy just thinking about it.
You see, I have hosting issues. My inner perfectionist whispers that the menu should be themed and so mouth-watering that guests beg for the recipes; my home should be pristine, from the bathrooms to the baseboards; conversation should flow smoothly as I perform introductions and make everyone feel welcome.
Reality, however, looks more like this: our yard has been invaded by clover this spring; everything in my house is covered with a layer of Georgia pollen; books, maps, and my kids’ art projects are stacked everywhere. With ten of us living here and a busy schedule, I’m not sure things will improve before April 28.
The truth is, I’m a haphazard and therefore somewhat hesitant host; I never seem to have my act together on time. All of these scenarios have happened:
- Guests walk in on wet floors that I’ve mopped moments before their arrival.
- I’ve forgotten to add key ingredients to recipes.
- I’ve emerged from the bathroom wearing rubber gloves and carrying a bottle of household cleaner, only to realize that guests are already in the house.
- I invited four couples to our house for supper at six o’clock, but I thought I’d told them seven.
Initially, my guests end up in the kitchen, because I can’t remember the last time I finished cooking before they arrived. I’m usually in my apron, sweating, trying to smile and make small talk while frantically chopping and stirring and moving things in and out of the oven.
Sounds hopeless, right?
But here’s the thing: as much as I panic over and dread hostessing in advance, once my guests arrive—in spite of the chaos—I love every minute of it (after the rubber gloves have been hidden, of course).
People ask what they can do to help, and suddenly there’s a kitchen full of people chopping ingredients and arranging food and drinks. Someone starts washing used mixing bowls and knives. Another takes over the job of door greeter.
I sneak away to put on shoes and lipstick and return to find laughter and many hands making light work. If everything were ready when they arrived, I don’t think my guests would feel nearly so comfortable.
I don’t have to be perfect, because we all pull it off together.
If you’re hostessing an (in)RL event, please don’t stress about your floors and your menu—I’m asking everyone to bring an appetizer or dessert to mine. If you’re stepping outside your comfort zone and attending an event where you don’t know anyone, just jump in and help the hostess. Chances are, she’s as nervous as you are.
I can’t wait to hear the stories of local community growing from (in)RL meetups all over the world!
Are you hostessing? Do you know anyone at the event you’re attending?
by Dawn Camp, My Home Sweet HomeLeave a Comment