To be invited into someone’s home is such a privilege and is not something that I take lightly. Similarly, my home is such a safe and sacred space. We’re so careful about who comes into our home, more so now that we have Rafa. The truth is in inviting you into our home, we’re inviting you into our lives. Outside of these doors lay a lot of things we can’t control. Negativity. Stress. Hate. But what passes through the doors we have a lot more control over. I want to have a home that’s calming, joyful and full of good vibes. Earlier in the year I read these words by Nathan Williams in The Kinfolk Table, “Open your door, make your home inviting, and relationships will grow.” I agree, there’s a beautiful sense of community that develops when you let people in but I still can’t help being guarded.
Over the months I’ve got to know some incredible families, and I’ve got to know them fairly well (or so I’d like to think). Before we left for Fiji I decided to have everyone over for an early Christmas celebration (this was the first week of November!). Our babies are roughly the same age, the ladies meet at least once a week but unfortunately rarely are all the dad’s together. So a Christmas party was thrown, the door was open and relationships nurtured. This gathering was one of my absolute favourites and as I look through the photos and reminisce about the day that was it strikes me just how much of an ‘unfussy’ gathering it was.
I created a sitting table with wooden pallets, covered with a white flat sheet and a grey piece of fabric from the op shop. The table sat on a plain Fijian mat. Lots of greenery adorned the table with cutlery picked up from the op shop (all neatly packed and stored in the cupboard for next time). The candles were hand-rolled with love with friends while our babies crawled and cried out for cuddles. And while not accustomed to potluck meals, that’s what we ended up having and it was wholesome and heartwarming to not only break bread together but to have all participated in creating the spread. I ‘cheated’ though, because we were having it at our place and with a baby myself, I ended up having the cake and two other dishes catered. Where in the past I would have been so adamant about doing everything myself, I’m learning to let go a lot more now.
Everything about the day was plentiful: laughter, food, tears and love. I can’t wait to host more unfussy gatherings like this one. I was overjoyed to have like minded people, though all different at the same time, fill our space and our hearts. The day reminded me of so many things: I don’t need to do everything on my own, it doesn’t need to be perfect (and perfect is what you make of it anyway) and ‘home’ isn’t a physical space for me. It’s an emotion. And right here, in this unfussy chaos, I felt the most at home.
Okay, but in all honesty, I was messaging my friends the night before because one of the white plates was smaller than the others and the other plate had a tiny black speck on it. That’s just my inner perfectionist but even she was thrilled with our little gathering. And what beautiful human beings they were for not laughing (they might have in private) or dismissing me but gently reassuring me that no one would notice and that in those messages they saw so much love.
Here’s to many unfussy gatherings and to the people who attend them x