The best parties I ever attended were at my friend Sam's house. I remember her hosting one every year during middle and high school. We took a dip in her family's backyard pool, roasted s'mores over a bonfire, ran through the corn field behind her house, and ate loads of pizza bagel bites. All of this was before Pinterest and the only form of social media I occasionally used was AIM (but only if someone wasn't on the phone).
I've been thinking a lot about hosting recently because it has just continued to come up in various parts of my life. I've been asked to host this and that, and my attitude hasn't been the best. When the ask is made or I offer to host something for a group, I nod and put a smile on my face and hope that the other person can't tell that my pulse is racing and I'm already making mental to-do and grocery lists. Then I go home and grumble to Jay or call my mom because there's something else that's been added to my overflowing plate.
It isn't that I don't like having friends and family over to my home or spending time with loved ones over a lingering meal. It is just that I'm not content unless everything is perfect. I recently read this piece about hosting a crappy dinner party, and it really resonated with me. Aren't our favorite gatherings the impromptu ones where we order take-out with our friends and laugh for two hours straight? Or the ones where everyone is pitching in to make the meal and some of the best, most heartfelt conversation happens in the kitchen before anyone sits down to eat?
No one cares if your house is meticulously cleaned or if there are vases of fresh flowers or if all of the decorations are perfect. Yet, it is so hard to let go of that. Despite having some of the most gracious friends and family who don't care if there are tumbleweeds of dog hair rolling through my house, I struggle to let go of striving for perfection.
As we move into the season of holidays and celebrations, I'm working to practice hospitality over perfection. I hope for your sanity, you do too.