If you're coming to my house for dinner, it's not going to be perfect. This is something I have come to grips with - and I wish I could put it as a disclaimer on the bottom of every dinner invite I hand out. You know, how some people tack on a little note to please forgive the spelling of all messages sent from this iPhone? Well, "Please understand this invitation is not to a perfect 'event' - it's to sit in my home. And you might have to sit on the bed, or floor, because we only have 4 bar stools and 2 folder chairs. Hope to see you there."
When our wedding was over, I crumbled under the idea of inviting anyone over. I hadn't expected everyone else's expectations for my wedding ceremony - the day I'd make vows with my husband - the day I'd be his bride. I had no idea it required me be a perfect party planner, event coordinator, etc, etc. I was prepared for things to go wrong. I was prepared to not do it perfect. But I wasn't prepared for everyone else to be disappointed in me when it didn't. So dinner invites weren't extended. Because if I couldn't host a wedding, how could I host a dinner that didn't somehow fail my guests' expectations?
I still feel this pressure - we have meltdowns before dinners - neither John or I expected that. I've always loved creating a place for people to be together. I want to introduce new friends. I want to show them commonality. I want to offer comfort and a safe place. And I love cooking.
But I live in 450 square feet. We have minimal cabinets and storage. And our first year of marriage has seen us toss away items week after week - what we once would have fought to keep, we pile into bags and boxes in the kitchen and drive to our local goodwill.
I don't miss those things - until we decide to host. I have one pretty big plate. It's a platter, I think. One. It fits on top of our fridge, and it is just so pretty, so I keep it. And one tiny little wooden bowl that looks cool out on a party table. We have some really awesome little forks and knives for serving up little scoops of melty cheese or olives too. And a gorgeous marble cheese cutting board. You'll see all of these things out at any given party we host.
Someday it will be nice to have the appropriate party-hosting dishware, but for now, I don't have the room. And I kind of like that. I'm okay being the newly-wed gal who doesn't have the matching set just yet... of whatever the thing is. I'm okay with having friends sit on the floor, or lay on my bed.
But I'm not okay with feeling other's disappointment - with having people arrive and silently say, 'oh.'
As my first little tiny, teeny 'party' since our wedding is coming closer - I keep fighting this huge anxiety. I left the invite as a draft for nearly a week before hitting 'send.' I need to figure out how to auto-add that note. "Proper serving ware not included" might do. Or, "Don't expect too much please." Really, I just want to say, "Please don't be disappointed in me. I just wanted to have you over for a glass of wine."
One of my best friends built me up last week, reminding me the handful of qualities I have to give - hopefully others can see the value. So, you're invited to my home - please come be my friend - and enjoy the creative, strange use of what I had around to turn into ornaments. I'll be sincere. I'll be loyal. I'll see things a bit differently - and I'll probably serve dinner a little late. I believe in value. And I'll always try to show you how much I value you, whenever you're in my home.
I can't promise the rest.
When it really comes to the heart of the issue, I suppose really I could. I just don't want to. I spend every day managing, coordinating, meeting deadlines, triple checking, impressing, proving my value - and I don't want to do that with the people I love. Let's just drink wine and eat good food and not stress about time lines, table charts and proper cutlery. I'm not here to impress you. I've already changed out of my business dress...Here, have a glass of wine.
I just want to feel a little closer friends by the time you leave.