“Really, we’d love to have you for dinner,” I assured the two guys visiting our ward for a few weeks while working on a film project. “You should know my house is the party house, we always have people over. Don’t worry, there is always food and paintings—it’s kind of crazy…and, well, we try to be fun,” I joked. I am sure they wondered about this lady who accosts them with strange familiarity post sacrament meeting. I will admit it, I do love being the party house, the place where you can always come and hang out in an afternoon and catch some fresh baked warm cookies, or quickly get roped into some sort of project. I love being the home where you just happen to find yourself staying for dinner. I love to be the one to say, “Hey, let’s have a party. We can do it at my house.” We have been the destination for an endless run of baby showers, luncheons, farewells, family hang outs, and artist studio nights.
This is because, to put it simply, I really dig a party. Any excuse for punch and cookies—bring it on. In fact, it seems to be the one thing most days are missing, so my personal goal is to bring a little bit of party wherever I go. This has been a life long trait; I did, after all, sometimes bring Tupperware containers of cupcakes to pass out to my friends in the halls at high school. And once in college I sewed all these mini stockings and filled them with candy and just went about my December day on campus and then whoever I ran into that day that I knew—hey, FREE candy surprise, the perks of knowing Leslie Graff (well, it was Whyte then) that day. Because, hey, who wouldn’t love to have someone just walk up and give them a present? I am all for life involving a lot more presents. And in truth they generally don’t have to be elaborate (although I do like those too).
Three weeks ago as I left for a medical mission in Nepal, my suitcase was packed with five types of homemade cookies (I know, call me team mom) and scrub caps and art cards for the team—I take it upon myself to to be in charge of third-world-medical-mission party favors. I have also been known to step into the role of Love Boat cruise director, knocking on people’s doors and rounding people up for fun activities. And please, by all means, let’s have a good story, or a great joke.
The other week I was asked to teach YW on homemaking. One of the points I made was that the really cool part of being a grown up is the way you get to run the show. Homemaking, while it may be perceived to be a laundry list of chores or domestic labors, is actually a lot more about creating a personal and family culture. You decide what you want and make it happen. If you want to bake cookies for the whole neighborhood, you get to. If you want to be the friendly ones who invite people over for dinner, you can. Your life is only going to be as much of a party as you want it to be. If there is one thing in life I remind myself constantly, it’s to be more deliberate. It’s easy to get rolling in all the responsibilities and general requirements of life and forget to really make it what we want. It requires thought to really engage our agency in bringing to pass many good things of our own free will.
To me there can always be a little more turn up the music, bring on the people, and break out the food in any situation. I know I should probably be scolded for leaning over on occasion and making a funny joke on the back row in RS, but I just can’t help it. I love to see people smile and I love to make them laugh. Really, ten minutes with me and we’ll probably already be buddies and have an inside joke. Twenty minutes and I have probably invited you to my house.
My personal brand of culture involves being personal, usually making something for people—my form of affection—lots of words, and usually a little randomness.
What is your personal or family culture? Are you all for bringin a little more party to life?