When Mark informed me that his brother and nephew would be visiting at 9am one Sunday morning, I nearly experienced a meltdown.
Notice the word 'nearly'. I am proud to report, I remembered in the nick of time, that I have turned over a new leaf.
Thus, I did not have a meltdown. Because I am trying my utter hardest not to have meltdowns and to be far more casual in my approach to life and visits.
Allow me to paint a clearer picture. It wasn't the thought of 9am that was disturbing me (my world begins at 5.45am week days and a little bit later at weekends) or the fact I think my brother-in-law and nephew are people who should be avoided whenever possible. No, the mere mention of Gary and Will does not mean I erupt in ugly boils and run, shrieking, "Please God, what have I done to deserve this!"
It's nothing half as dramatic as that.
I simply realised, if I want to move forward in this world, I have to stop pressurising myself in my quest for perfection.
Unless your name is Mary Poppins, she who is perfectly perfect in every way, the P word does not exist.
I have decided the P word was purely invented to make me feel inadequate. Especially when entertaining.
This is why I tried not to have a meltdown one particular Sunday morning. Brother-in-law and nephew wanted to visit on the exact same morning husband I were welcoming other friends to our home, for the very first time.
So what, you may say. And yes, you relaxed experts may well say that.
I am just not used to it.
However, Mark and I have promised this year to be more sociable for Tommy's sake and ours. Which is why I am the first to admit we are out of practice with guests and visits.
The last couple of times we entertained, I put too much worry and concern into the event.
Fast forward May 2016, we invited friends for lunch, accompanied with a play date for the kids. And I gave myself firm instructions to not stress over the house and food. Guests do not expect perfection. A great ambiance yes, a memorable time, I hope so. But not necessarily the P word.
Therefore, Gary and Will visited at 9am, just after Tommy and I had finished decorating cakes. The baking equipment was still unwashed and uncared for, but for once I actually wasn't bothered. It was a beautiful sunny morning and we sat in the garden eating cakes and drinking squash. That was for more important than cleaning messy bowls. Besides, preparation is the key, I'd made the pasta dish the night before. (I'm learning!)
It also dawned on me that Gary would not be offended if I chatted to him whilst chopping the salad and hoovering the tiles.
It was actually a very relaxing morning and I carried on this mood until our friends entered our home for lunch and play date.
I think, it's far more important that guests are welcomed to a house where the host is not anxious and agitated, over little things which do not really matter in the grand scheme of things. Such as, the fact I still had the cake mixing bowl in the sink.
Boy, have I come a long way in these matters. And it's so much more fun.
Reminding myself to enjoy the preparation.
Think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.