| I’ve had people stay with me before, lots of times. But in the past it would usually be a person who would sleep on the couch, sometimes with their shoes on, and only need to be pointed to where the front door was in the morning and where I’d hidden their car keys the night before. I’ve never really had to change a sheet or put a mint on the pillow for a person. So when my sister Kellene announced that she and her 16 year old daughter Kasey and another 16 year old friend were coming to NYC for five days, I got all out-of-body when I told her they should stay with me.
There were other options. My family knows me well enough to usually go directly to my sister Lori’s house, because she is awesome to stay with. She has my mother’s gift in the kitchen, her home is warm and inviting, she has more space. But I invited Kellene, used Roan’s cuteness as bait, and tricked her into taking me up on it. Then I put a call in to my friend Kara, who promptly showed up on my doorstep with supplies for sleeping. I cleaned the house, did laundry, got some food in the cupboards, and let Roan stay up super-late (all the way into the 10’s!) waiting for their arrival.
It just couldn’t have gone better. Kellene must have trained those girls on having a low bar of expectation because they were all smiles when they saw where they’d be sleeping; they never complained that there wasn’t actually enough space for their legs to extend fully where they would lie down, they used the one mirror in tandem to put on make-up and fix their hair, and they enjoyed not even one single home-cooked meal, opting to get bagels every morning for breakfast. Kellene made Roan laugh hysterically for lengths of time I couldn’t believe, and true to her nature, would straighten up my home every chance she got. We had six people in a tiny apartment made for two, and it was lovely. Of course, the girls were more interested in seeing the city than hanging out in my home, so they would essentially only be here to sleep, get dressed, and send text messages. But it was something I never thought I would be able to do – be a host – and now I’ve done it.
When they left this morning, instead of looking forward to getting everything back into its place, I felt really sad. It was so great to have this place full of people I love, almost on top of each other, with lots of teenage giggling and whispering. It was so nice to have my big sister here to talk with
late at night. I forced Roan to stay home from school yesterday (no, for real I had to force him because he loves going to school. What kind of square am I raising??) so he could take on the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park and 5th Avenue shopping with the crew. He was in heaven all day being showered with attention by my two sisters. I know life will get back to its normal pace and rhythm now, but as they walked out the door today I missed them immediately, and for the first time ever, felt like this Brooklyn home was too big.