The Engineer and I often talk about our “forever home” and the various attributes this dream house will have. We want a vegetable garden, a renovated carriage house where the Engineer can tinker with his five motorcycles (yes, we have decided on five) and I can read in the loft, a wood stove, a playroom for our kids, sustainable energy-efficient technology, and of course a library with a secret door behind one of the bookcases. But most of all, what we want is room to welcome others in.
When we scroll through Zillow over lunch, learning about each other’s architectural and aesthetic preferences (I always want to redo the kitchen cabinets, he always looks for staircases), we keep coming back to wanting a guest bedroom, a space that our kids and their friends can hang out, a place to offer anyone who might need a place to stay. Even though the word made me twitch for a while (due to its overuse in the Unfortunate Internship), the value we’re really looking for is hospitality.
Most of the time, I feel like this is a thing that Future Me will be able to do. Future Me will be the one to invite people over and have an open-door policy and be the second home to the neighborhood kids. (Future Me will have better furniture and magical amounts of free time, too.)
But that desire to welcome pops through in unexpected ways already. In our old apartment complex, our friends from church would literally just walk into our apartment at all hours; we often compared it to living in a sitcom where no doors are ever locked. When we were choosing our house here, we intentionally searched for a two-bedroom and got a daybed that converts to a king bed so we could encourage loved ones from the West Coast to come visit.
And a few weeks ago, one half of our New Couple Friends asked if she could crash on our couch since she would be in town to finish up some things at their old apartment. Instead of the couch, of course, we made up the day bed in the study, I made her tea and breakfast in the morning, and we had a lovely chat before she headed home. Although it never crossed my mind to say we couldn’t host her, I briefly wondered if it would make me feel harried or stressed to have someone over on a random Monday night/Tuesday morning. In reality, getting to hang out quietly comparing our DuoLingo progress in Spanish and laugh at my cat’s antics was comfortable.
Maybe Future Me doesn’t have a monopoly on hospitality after all.