The Best House Guests Ever

The doorbell rang at 5:15 p.m. on Friday. “Hey, guys, Mr. Kyle’s here!” I called, and went to open the door for my good friend from grad school. I’ve been looking forward to this visit for months, but I wasn’t prepared for my children’s enthusiasm. As I stepped back from greeting them with hugs, Nicholas pounded across the living room: “Aaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiyyy!” colliding with Kyle’s legs and hugging them tight. Julianna tore forward, her face split by a goofy grin, giggling as she threw herself into Beth’s arms.

It’s been two years since we saw Kyle, and Beth was a new acquaintance. And yet there are friends with whom somehow you can always pick up right where you left off—and with whom there is no awkward, formal getting-to-know-you stage. We didn’t stop talking all weekend. Completely geeked out about liturgy and faith (they both work for the Church), agriculture, families—barely touched on reminiscing about school days.

They were so good with the kids, too. So often when adults try to visit it’s like a wrestling match: who gets my attention, the kids or the guests? But the kids spent the entire weekend crawling all over the visitors, who by all appearances reveled in the chaos. My children multiplied their usual hyperactivity several times over. They were so excited. Every morning, when the guests came upstairs, the squeals of delight reprised. Sunday morning at breakfast, Kyle lifted his head. “What’s that sound?” he joked. “Is that quiet? I haven’t heard that all weekend!”

We went bike riding on Saturday, and the four adults spent Saturday evening crowded on and around the air mattress in the basement, snacking on popcorn and talking till our throats were raw, joking about how it felt like a sleepover. After Kyle played through some new music and critiqued it for me.

It’s rare to have the privilege of hosting people who are at home with you from the first moment. Who feel comfortable enough to help themselves to the M&M bag—and instead of being annoyed, you rejoice in the level of their comfort. I didn’t touch the dish sink all weekend, because by the time I got ready to start, they had the dishes well underway.

And they gave us a Shakespeare’s gift certificate.

Sunday morning, Kyle sang with the choir for Pentecost, and afterward we said our goodbyes and they headed home. “Did you enjoy their visit?” Christian asked Alex as he backed out of the parking spot at church.

“Yes, only…” And suddenly Alex wailed, “it wasn’t long enough!”

I agree, my boy. I agree.

Today I am grateful for…

The best house guests ever

a perfect day for a bike ride (except for the mosquitoes)

the beauty of the river

picking up where we left off

new friends

a grown-up “sleepover” (especially nice b/c at the end of it I got to sleep in my own bed, not in some uncomfortable sleeping bag!)

An amazing Monday morning sky as the clouds drift in:

     the air yellow and intimate

     cornflower blue sky dotted with salmon-colored clouds in the southwest

     smudgy gray clouds, almost disappearing into the sky, outlined in brilliant white-silver

     cotton ball blobs atop shimmering gray-yellow formations in the east

     the low grumble of thunder

My love for my sick child

The end being in sight for all my deadlines

An improvement in attitude