The greatest compliment I ever received was when a new friend visited my home for the first time. She walked past our new dining room table without even a second glance. She never noticed that I had vacuumed the floors and dusted the furniture before her arrival. She was not impressed with the scrubbed bathrooms and spotless kitchen sink. The lit candles and freshly cut blooms from our gardens were practically ignored.
Instead, she took time to view our family photographs and to investigate the finger painted artwork displayed proudly on our walls. She didn’t even seem to mind joining us when my children and I habitually nestled ourselves on the living room floor instead of on the sofa.
As my children bounced about donning dress-up clothes, my guest offered the kindest words I’ve ever heard: “This house is filled with so much love.”
That’s when I knew we’d surely be friends. She seemed to understand that clean floors and expensive furniture only decorate the surface of our lives. The real stuff – the toys on the floor, the crayon marks on the wall, and the sound of laughter in our home – is more important than perfect appearances.
When I meet new friends, I welcome them to visit our home at anytime. Then, I offer a warning I learned from my grandmother: “Sometimes the house is clean. Sometimes it isn’t. If you’re coming to see us, come without warning. If you’re coming to see the house, call ahead.”
Like most people, I like my home to be clean and free of clutter. I prefer things to be sanitized and orderly. But more than that, I want my home to be a haven for happiness, for love, and for laughter.
I want my children and their friends to feel free here to be themselves. I want them to have unrestricted access to their inner joys and imaginations. I want them to understand, that while we do have some rules, we also have fun.
Our home rules are simple:
- Furniture is for resting (and for making camps).
- Walking feet are best (unless “Simon Says” otherwise).
- Inside voices are heard first.
- Please, use your manner words.
- Be kind and considerate.
- Use your imagination.
- Be happy and have fun!
Today, let’s try not to focus on the baseboards and bathtub rings. Instead, let’s make sure our homes are filled with love.