Space for Ten: On Sharing Our Home

This winter, a friend asked if we would consider sharing our third floor space with their family of five. I immediately liked the idea and said I would talk to Josh about it and get back to her.

And then I freaked out a little bit. We were in a good groove and enjoying our third floor as guest space and a playroom. Luke and Theo were enjoying quiet naptimes and I was liking that I didn’t have to share a laundry room with anyone.

I knew that Josh would love the idea. His passion for hospitality is one of the things I love most about him.   We talked it over, talking about all the positives and negatives of sharing our space. It was a conversation that was important to have, but one in which we both knew the answer would be, “Yes, of course you’re welcome here.”

And then, two weeks before the scheduled move-in date, our friends asked if they could come earlier.  Again, small freak out from me (which now they’re going to know about) and the answer was, “Of course.”

It’s important that you know that “yes” is not always the answer I feel in my heart.  It’s not always easy to share space. And I still don’t like the cooking or cleaning part of life.  It’s so much easier to navigate my days alone. I don’t know about you, but I’m still learning how to be good at sharing (especially if it involves a gluten free dessert). I figure that in order to learn it well, I just have to keep saying “yes” to opportunities to share with others.  I’ve got to hold my home, my days and my special desserts loosely.

Right now, we’re just over a month into a three and a half month visit from our friends.  And it’s been awesome.  They are fun, considerate, mission-minded and fill our house with joy.  We have friends to laugh with, adults to process life with, the happiness of more kids in our home, learning about life with a child with special needs, awesome shared meals (that I usually don’t have to cook!), free babysitting for both families, popcorn parties after kids go to bed and family walks after dinner.  What a gift to get this time together.

It took Luke about a week to adjust to having older kids around, but he LOVES his friends, ages 6, 5 and 3. He runs to the gate  and says, “fwens, fwens, peas?! (friends, friends, please)” when he hears them coming down the stairs or in the door.  I’m already sad for the day when they will be on their way to their new home in Arizona and my little buddy just won’t understand where his “fwens” went.

Tonight we’ll welcome a friend from out of town into our home for the night, making our total 5 children and 5 adults.  We’ve got room for more!  When I lived in a 600 square foot studio apartment in Chicago I learned that you can always find more space for someone to stay.  All you need is a willing heart and a few extra towels.

Here’s to saying yes and learning how to share.

(To learn about how cool our house guests are, follow my friend’s blog, Simple Thoughts. I especially love reading about their journey as parents of a child with Down Syndrome).                     

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