Before we moved into this house, we jokingly called it the “magic” house.
The house magically fell into our laps when we weren’t looking and didn’t know we wanted a new house…..it magically met our long-term goals for renovation of our current house….
I had magical dreams for the house. Since our bedroom would be on a different floor than the Hobbits, no one would ever come to our bed in the middle of the night. With a designated playroom, toys would never be left lying around the house for us to trip over. The laundry chute would keep the Hobbits’ bedrooms neat and tidy.
That was when my mediocre sister asked if we were moving into a magic house. Well, yeah, I actually kind of thought so.
It hasn’t quite worked out that way. Hobbits still wander to my room at all hours of the night….they only visit the playroom to make ungodly messes and then drag their toys all over the house….laundry piles up everywhere because, apparently, 10 steps is just too far to walk to the laundry chute.
We have discovered a different kind of magic in the house, though.
We had envisioned a home where our Hobbits’ friends lounged by the swimming pool in the summer, and played on the pool table in the winter….a place where awkward pre-teens and gangly teenagers would sprawl on the couches and the floor, playing games and watching movies.
What we didn’t see coming was that our friends would do the same.
We hosted a big party this past Saturday. We cleaned the house, shopped for food, even ordered a small keg of beer. Friends and family came, swam in the pool, and brought food to share. There were even fireworks after dark.
The next morning, relaxing with our coffee, friends from out of state texted that they were headed to a nearby beach. Did we want to join them? A dozen texts and an hour later, they arrived at our house to swim and eat party leftovers.
Nine kids played in the pool for hours, with barely a cross word. Parents lounged and swam and played with the kids. The food was good. The beer was cold. The conversation was fun. We kept the kids up past their bedtime for the second night in a row, and we didn’t regret one minute.
When the house was quiet, the diswasher humming, and the Hobbits snoring, Hubby walked me through the house. “I want to show you something,” he said.
We started by the front door, walked through the living room, through the kitchen, onto the screened porch and then to the deck. We watched the sun going down next to the pool.
Hubby said this….
This is why we have this house, and this is what we do for people. We give them a place to relax and leave their stress behind for a little while. It’s not much, but it’s what we can do.
He’s right. Life is difficult. Parenting is hard. Work sucks.
We all have too much to do and not enough time. We deserve a break. Our kids deserve a break.
We all need a little time to leave behind the stress of meetings and projects….organized sports….school projects…haircuts….and doctor visits. It’s fun to watch our kids, relaxed and enjoying their friends…..and to join them, splashing in the pool. Because there is never enough time for play.
We have appointments and deadlines, schedules and chores. But we rarely find the time to relax and take a break. So, once in a while, the magic house becomes that place…..where the rules relax, the kids behave, and we forget our stress for just a little while.
Sometimes, we swim until the sun goes down. Sometimes, the kids watch movies while the grown-ups play dice or dominoes. Sometimes, there are football games and ping-pong tournaments.
We hope the Hobbits learn that your family is not only the people who share your DNA…..your family is made of the people that love you….the people who make you want to drop everything to be with them….to celebrate weddings and baptisms with them….to cry with them through sickness and heartbreak.
The friends who come to our home are not always the friends that we see regularly, but they are all the kind of friends who open the refrigerator for a sippy cup of milk, kick off their shoes, put their feet on the coffee table, and enjoy the magic house.
They are our family.