2013 – How I did on my secret goal of hostessing

I’m pretty certain this will be the last post of 2013, unless I get crazy and start posting at an unprecedented rate.  We travel to Texas tomorrow for Christmas, a trip I booked just a few weeks ago after realizing that this may be the last opportunity to go home and only pay for two tickets.  Sam is 19 months and soon he’ll be two and no longer able to “sit” in my lap and we’ll be paying for 3 tickets. Traveling has decreased tremendously since moving out here, but I’m sure this will decrease it further. 

Back to him being 19 months. I’m really big on NOT saying almost 20 months (even though he is) because I’m pretty sure this is the last baby month.  After 20 months, I’m pretty sure I just have to say “he’s almost two” because really, at 20 months you probably shouldn’t be counting in months anymore.  He’s speaking in two word sentences already, for crying out loud.  “Read book”, “Baby sleep” (not him of course, other babies), “Dada work” “Mama talk” (gee, thanks kid! I guess that’s my contribution to life) and my favorite, “Watch? Boz?”. That free DVD we got in the mail backfired on us. The talking really makes him feel older than he is.  The tantrums and emotional waves make him feel riiiight about two :)

I never wrote about it, mostly for fear of Publicly Making A Declaration and then blatantly slacking on it, but my unofficial goal was to “Get better at hosting events in my house”.  This mostly came about because I knew we had a spacious situation in CA and we purposely bought furniture to accommodate many people and it was always just the two of us (and then baby).  What is the use of buying nice places to sit or having a spacious place to live if you never have people to fill the space? I wanted to be more welcoming to other and to really live in our house. I had a hair brained idea that I would host something once a month at least, and then I decided I didn’t like that I idea because I didn’t want to set a requirement for hanging out with my friends. 

While I am put-off by temperament/personality type tests to begin with, mostly because I can never figure out what type I am but also because I get really annoyed when people use their temperaments as an excuse for why they behave a certain way (is their a cynical personality? wait don’t tell me. I don’t need the encouragement), I understand the value of knowing yourself and identifying your weaknesses in order to work on them and improve. I do know that I have a natural disposition to be hesitant when suggesting plans with people, worried that they will say no or that I will offend them, or that they won’t be interested and I will have just made a fool of myself.  Basically, I’m really good at making it all about me and taking things that aren’t personal, personal.  This is a major problem when I want to host things, but I literally become paralyzed at what people will think about my cooking, about my house, about my horrible hostessing skills, etc. Very self defeating and insecure and, just annoying.  I would probably be annoyed at me if I came over to my house!  But its strange, I really just love being invited over and included in things, so I appreciate people opening up their homes to me so much, but for some reason I am just very timid about doing it myself (this tendency probably manifests itself in many other ways as well, but this is just one example).

One might well say that mankind is divisible into two great classes: hosts and guests.
Max Beerbohm

But I’m happy to report that I think I made great strives in opening up my home to others this year. After all was said and done, I invited people over and made food that was edible and just generally had a great time.  I really feel like the nicest, warmest thing you can do for someone is to invite them over in your home and treat them like a special guest by making a warm meal for them. I think I got a lot better at that this year.  And it wasn’t that bad at all when people couldn’t make it or had to cancel at the last minute. And I mean that.  I think I needed to give myself a chance to see that.

Any celebration meal to which guests are invited, be they family or friends, should be an occasion for generous hospitality.
Julian Baggini

Although I still have the same anxiety when asking, I think it just felt good to put myself out there and want to welcome people into our space. After all, the worst thing that can happen is that people just say they can’t come.  I finally realized that if I wouldn’t be offended by the fact that someone invited me over, then why I am so concerned that someone I invite over would be? And if I not only wouldn’t be offended but would love pretty much anything anyone cooked me, then why am I so concerned what people think of my food? And most importantly, if I don’t even see dirt or mess at other people’s houses, why am I so concerned that someone will judge me harshly for my mess? (Ok, that last one might be influenced by my husband.  He considers anything on any surface clutter.)

The only advantage of not being too good a housekeeper is that your guests are so pleased to feel how very much better they are.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Anyway, I think I’m getting better at finding that balance between wanting to treat my guests with respect and care, and being so paralyzed by the fear of wanting to treat my guests with respect and care that I never even invite them in the front door in the first place. 

So 2013 goal? Check! 

Now to decide my 2014 Unofficial Secrete Goal…hmm…