I’m not a Pinterest-worthy Hostess and That’s OK

My plates are chipped.
My bowls don’t match.
My spoons have seen the inside of the garbage disposal. And lost.
My pans are scratched in a teflon maze.
My silverware looks like a meeting of the United Nations.
My butter dish came from the Dollar Store.
My wedding china sees the light of day twice a year–if it’s lucky.

When I was a young bride I would stroll through the China Department at Hudson’s. This was my home. These were my peeps. Every serving piece, every placemat, every seasonal decoration was something that would make my home inviting and welcoming to guests. Or so I thought.

I recently spent a few days with friends at a lakefront house. Of course the view was amazing. But the home was SO BEAUTIFUL. Everything was new and fresh. Charm abounded, whimsical decorations delighted my eye. The chef’s kitchen offered complete service settings–for 16! Even the colors were in my sweet spot: blue and orange and green. The retreat was an escape to hostess nirvana.

Then I realized something. That fanciful bride who made regular pilgrimages to the China Department will be celebrating three decades of marriage in just a few months. I started to look at things differently.

Those chipped plates have served up over 20,000 meals to my family.
The odd count of Ikea glasses attest to our journey from plastic sippy cups to real glass glasses.
Aunt Sandy’s spoon in our silverware drawer reminds me of family far away.
That butter dish is one of many kitchen items I’ve picked up from the Dollar Store as I’ve learned that where I spend my money reflects my priorities.
My army of cookbooks may be down to the last 4 survivors, stained and battle weary, but they carry my family’s favorite recipes.

My kitchen is the heartbeat of our home. With limited counter-space and drool from the dog’s water dish splattered across the floor, it represents who we are. Worn and well loved. I set the dishes on the counter, call out “Dinner’s Ready” and the lineup begins. No one cares about the mismatched forks or the cracked bowls. Napkins come from the roll of paper towel. Relatives check the fridge for extra dressing. My daughters’ friends help themselves to seconds without asking. Ours is a kitchen with no pretenses, where everyone can come as they are and be who they are.

We take our plates over to the table. Or, since the table is usually covered with laptops and papers, we head into the living room to “picnic it,” a holdover from our toddler days, because now we can balance our plates on our laps.

When I think of my kitchen. Of the what, the who, the how, and the why, my heart swells and I’m in my own kind of hostess nirvana.

Oh, and that wedding china is still available. Let me know if you’re interested.