Thursday, October 7, 2010

Try This at Home

I'm standing in the freezing cold, tapping my foot and sighing.

Backpacks by the door.
Finally, both daughters emerge from school. As I herd them away from the building, I list out all the things I want them to do when we get home.  Hurry!  Let's move, girls! 

We get inside, and I'm scurrying around to empty backpacks and neatly replace them on their hooks. 

My oldest (the one whose fame lasted till lunch) pulls me aside and whispers, "Mom, what happened to the warm welcome?"

The warm welcome?  Please, child.  It's been a long day. 

But she's right.  I love these children.  Why can't I just give a warm welcome?  As we talk about what we could do to welcome each other into the home, she makes this list:  

The Warm Welcome
1.  Smile and say, "I'm so glad to see you."
2.  Offer a snack and a refreshing beverage. 
3.  Play soft music or light a candle for a peaceful mood.
4.  Please don't ask questions or give orders.

That's the Warm Welcome.  It turns out that even asking how somebody's day was can feel like pressure.  My daughter tells me to wait until she's settled in before asking her questions. 

I seem to recall marriage advice along the same lines.  

How many family and neighbor entrances have I clouded with my impatience, my demands, and my agenda?  When a family member returns home, what if I didn't ask questions, give orders, or rush? 

I stop my scurrying, put on some music, light our pumpkin candle, and pour a glass of orange juice as my daughters transition from out there to in here. 

Living with flair means I learn the Warm Welcome. You've been out there.  Come inside.  We are so glad you're here.


Anonymous said...

I love this one! Tim and I always had this argument when we were first married, while it may be hard for me to keep quiet for a few extra minutes while he winds down, it goes such a long way towards a good evening for both of us! I hadn't even thought about it applying to my kids, Sophie just started preschool, ill ahve to remind myself not to drill her with questions as soon as she's done! :) Still reading every post! Brittany

Andrea said...

Great idea! I am copying it!

Red Letter Believers said...

It comes down to how we 'season' our homes. As the man who returns home, I can cloud the whole family with anger, a bad attitude, or brooding.

How many 'warm welcomes' did I douse because of my bad self?


Charity said...

Excellent reminder...thank you!

jenny_o said...

You have a wise daughter there.

I think back to when my kids were in school and wonder, did I overwhelm them when they came home?

Unknown said...

I have learned a warm welcome to my home is a quiet one - I have a dog sanctuary with 19 hounds living in and out of my home. When I come home, I hear a cacophony of bays and barks welcoming me. When I stay verbally silent but greet each one with stroke or a face rub, we all settle more quickly and restfully than if I try to outshout them. I am going to share this at work: I am an RN. Often, coming on shift, we hear how bad it has difficult families are...etc. I understand the frustrations of the previous shift but don't need to hear a blanket downer when I am starting mine. Will share this with my boss - hopefully, we all can develop a warm welcome - as we do support one another. Thanks for the post.

LivewithFlair said...

I love the idea of the silent face rub--even for children and husbands!

Julie Bond Genovese said...

BEAUTIFUL! During my school days, my mom used to offer a "hello sweetheart" (from wherever she was in the house) when she heard me come through the door. It made me smile. I try do the same for my kids and hubby -- this is an awesome reminder of how much it means to simply be seen, acknowledged and loved, without question.

Heather, your posts are a warm welcome to my soul. Thanks so much!

Christiane said...

This was such a great post. It remembered me of a man I had an affair with. Every time he came to see me I hugged him and told him how happy I was to see him. He said more than once that his then girl-friend never did this and would rather complain about him instead of welcoming him. I didn't realize how important this simple ritual was until today when I read your post, Heather.

Anonymous said...

This is great!

Cathy said...

I love the idea of a warm welcome. Not an interrogation, not a review of MY day, just a "welcome home to where you can be what you want to be and out of the rat race of life." A place where there is unconditional love and acceptance. A space for yourself and family when you're ready.