people I do life with

There's something comforting about sharing meals with friends.  Eating, talking, laughing, and fighting over the last bit of food.  I love eating with my friends.  I love having them over, having them eating on my table, sharing life stories.  These are whom I am doing life with.

For a period of time, my girlfriends and I used to come over to each other's place and cook together or one of us will host it and do the meal planning and we'll come early to assist.  Over time, with kids coming into the picture and the group expanding (new life partners), the hot pot and pot luck route proved to be safest and easiest for all of us.  We refuse to give up eating together.  It's been over 5 years now, we rarely go over a month without sharing at least a meal together.  It's becoming our tradition.  A very good tradition I must say. 

I can see us growing old together.  Years from now we'll still be looking across at each other, still call each other out, annoying each other, fighting for a chance to state our case, or smacking someone over the shoulder over something they shouldn't say !  And there will be laughter and lots of it.  Friendship is a bond worth celebrating often with good food !!!   I know no matter what happened in our lives, what dragon(s) we're slaying, it's this meal, this slice of time we spent together that offers us small comfort that we're not doing life alone.

Last night, every single bowls, serving dishes, cups, spoons, chopsticks was out in the "battle" during our group dinner.  After everyone left, my kids and husband passed out on the bed.  I wandered into the kitchen and ate left overs.  I was glad there just a bit of everything left !  I wished I made more rice though.  There's always next time.

This morning, as I sat eating cereal out of a measuring cup (which I'm sure it's spared because no one found it), I feel light hearted that my friends were over, putting all my dinner wares to use.  I made a mental note to buy more. 

I noticed that I enjoy hosting dinner as I get older.  When I was in my early 20s, I hate having people over.  The thought of prepping, cooking for people and cleaning after them are dreadful !  I'm too lazy for it.  Now my girlfriends and I plan them days in advance, sometime weeks.  It might sound strange, but I enjoy just watching friends having a good time.  I like to serve my friends.  Somewhere between the 20s and 30s, it's becoming less about me and more about others.  I am happiest when those around me are happy.

Since I've been hosting more than a dozen of times, I now have an orderly schedule I followed.  The night before and the day of the event it usually goes down like this, in particular order:

Night before:
- Grocery shopping
- Mopping
- Vacuuming
- Wiping windows, mantels, walls
- Clean up/organizing rooms

Day of:
- Disinfecting all bathrooms !
- Tidying up playrooms for the kids (so they can make a mess of it !!!)
- Cooking
- Getting my kids and I ready
- Feeding kids (I found getting them to eat first relieved me from the stress of feeding them & entertaining guests at the same time)
- Setting tables
- Sitting around waiting for guests, whom usually arrived 15-40 min. late !  Even if I tell them an earlier start time so that they would arrive around the actual time I want to start dinner > it never worked !  My friends are mind readers :-)

It does take a little effort but we enjoy it.  Mr. C and I would say to each other, while we clean up the house, "it's fun, let's do it again !".