Gather

This weekend we had a house full of people.  A party for about 30.  Good food, kids playing, a beautiful night, jazz, old fashioneds, a fire in the fire pit.  It was a lot of work, a mess afterward, and so much fun.

We moved into our new house in November with a huge sigh of relief over the space upgrade.  Exactly five people (one in a high chair, in the corner) fit into our old dining room.  In the warmer months we could host more outside, but heat and bugs made that less than ideal in late summer.  Which left us with about three months, maybe, of having-people-over possibilities.  Which sucked.  People are our thing.  Not just seeing them, or knowing them in an acquaintance way, but hearing their stories, sharing a good meal, hanging for hours on end.  That’s what we dig.

We were really good at it in our twenties.  Late nights of food and drink and talk when we lived in L.A. With good friends who we still treasure.  Then we had kids – we all did – and the parties changed.  Diaper duty, bedtimes to keep, kid disputes to diffuse – not as much hanging as grabbing snippets of conversation and connection.  It was a new kind of wonderful – family created and developed and shared with other families.  Deeper in some ways.  But certainly not as relaxing.

But now.  Yes.  There’s a glimmer of hope of hearing a full story again.  Of chillin.  While the kids get filthy running barefoot in the yard, sneak cookies, get out all the princess dolls upstairs, we can talk.  Have a glass of wine and discuss movies.  Or music.  Or politics.  Or laugh profusely.  It may seem a small matter, but those with kids will understand the significant shift.  The sudden combination of our children getting older and having more space.  We can gather people again.  We can create an inviting place for friends to get to know each other, and be known after that.  Like Cheers.  But at our house.  And with less alcoholics.

The party on Saturday helped me feel this switch, and I’m so glad.  I love my family.  Love movie nights with pizza – just us.  And weeknight dinners with third grade jokes, and our highs and lows of the day, and hearing only our stories.  That’s the meat of life.  The main, best part.  But I’m glad to know we can have the other, too.  Happy for a chance to be with family and friends at the same time, and get to experience it in full.

So yay for a larger house.  And the ability to gather.  And for people, who we dig.

It’s about time.

Celebrating that cute couple in the front.

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