A few weeks ago, I celebrated Easter by eating my way through an entire bag of Cadbury mini-eggs. When the joy of that indulgence came to an end, I joined my wife for an afternoon ride to a nearby neighborhood where our nephew, and his new girlfriend, had recently settled. They are renting a one-bedroom apartment, just adopted two cats and barely seem to have enough room to store extra toilet paper, let alone welcome extra people. Much to my surprise, upon our arrival, a one-bedroom apartment never felt so good.
In addition to the two lovebirds, we were greeted by my wife’s sister, her husband, and her other son — the one-bedroom apartment now held seven family members within its thin walls. One by one, each person stood, wide-eyed and smiling with enthusiasm, to hug and kiss us both. Since we had not planned to spend Easter with them, genuine sentiments of joy at our arrival were shared.
It felt so good, their sincere welcome, that it made me cry.
And then three more arrived, including a newborn, bringing the total to 10.
Throughout the rest of the afternoon, I kept trying to put my finger on exactly what felt so wonderful about being there. Ten of us, all packed tightly in less than 400 square feet, laughing, crying, visiting, and, of course, eating. What I surmised was that it was not any one thing, but a number of small things combined.
The sweet greeting barely came to an end before our twenty-something hosts began offering drinks. With hardly enough glasses to go around, they served water, wine or bloody mary’s made from scratch. When, after a bit of visiting, some cups had been emptied, they noticed, and swiftly stood to offer more. Never did I myself refill my cup in the eight hours we were there.
Halfway through the day, we all made our way up to the rooftop for a bit more elbow room and some unseasonably sunny Seattle weather. Before I knew it, the two sweethearts stepped away, stealthily, only to arrive back with a display of charcuterie, cheese and crackers. Ever the penny-pincher, I tallied up the total cost of these treats in my head. This entertaining afternoon was not inexpensive, and I knew these two had bills to pay. Just knowing this made their effort that much sweeter.
After their up and down the stairs, in and out of doors, balancing cocktails on trays and serving snacks galore, we all retreated back to the comfort of the tight space they called home. Here, to top off the perfect day, they made us all dinner. Feeding roast beef, ham, asparagus and potatoes to 10 is no easy task, especially when your kitchen is the size of a closet and one of your guests (me!) is a vegetarian. The way these two happily navigated around one another to plate and serve dish after dish of wonderful food made me chuckle with the type of knowing that an additional 10 years provides.
You see, our nephew and his girlfriend have not yet fallen into the trap of being, as we used to say in Texas, too big for their britches. Their hospitality was a reflection of the generous spirit, the wholesome abundance and the giggles galore that made our afternoon so special. They considered our presence a gift, not a stressor, and their actions reflected this. They felt lucky to have family join them in their tight-quartered home, with a new baby and two cats underfoot to boot. In our lives, we all entertain, and as these two twenty-something’s reminded me that it is an opportunity to honor those you are lucky enough to have in your life. Even if the circumstances of hosting are not ideal, the effort you put in is felt, and worth it.
Amy Andrews is Positively Smitten’s resident woman of worldly wisdom and will be sharing her advice through a weekly series published every Saturday.