I was on the phone with Laurelyn. (You know how I love Laurelyn.)
I sat at the top of the stairs in my jammies, since that’s been my talk-on-the-phone spot in every home I’ve lived in since age 11, when I first remember finding any interest in the phone.
The boys came in and out, in and out, in and out. Tuck was perpetually annoyed that I was still on the phone instead of serving him dessert, and he finally brought me a half gallon of ice cream and asked me to take off the lid. He resolved to solve this problem on his own. I applaud this.
A few more trips in and out, now with a grocery bag. And then he passed by with my silverware drawer in his hands.
The whole drawer.
I put Laurelyn on hold for just a moment. “Tuck?? What are you doing with the silverware?”
“Mommy. People need spoons.”
One of the primary values in our home is hospitality, and I’m teaching the boys that everything we have is for sharing. The cupboards are open to them as long as they are sharing with their friends, and there’s nothing we have that we love too much to give away. There is always more where that came from, and when you’re not sure, give it away.
I think the boys have accepted this value, perhaps even internalized it. Every night, they share snacks with their friends – a bag of Doritos, a box of CapriSun drink boxes, a dozen popsicles.
Tonight they hosted an ice cream party on our front porch.
A dozen children were in my front yard, ranging from first grade to eleventh, and ice cream shrapnel was scattered all around. Three tubs of ice cream, one vanilla and two mint chocolate chip, all the sprinkles from the baking cupboard, an array of plastic plates and cups, and of course, my silverware drawer.
Five teenagers sat on the front porch, in rocking chairs and on the ground, texting and laughing and telling their summertime sagas. Girls were braiding hair. Boys were shooting hoops. And everyone was eating ice cream.
There was laughter. There was community. And in the middle of it all was the pile of books I’d been reading when Laurelyn called. Move your feet, lose your seat.
“Hey, everybody, looks like quite a party out here!”
“Hi, Tucker and Tyler’s mom! Thanks for the ice cream!”
“You bet, guys. I’ll stay stocked all summer. You’re welcome here anytime.”
At 9:47 pm, I called my two children inside. And I’d just like to say that I think 9:47 is entirely generous for a six- and seven-year-old. But they were the hosts of the party, and everyone knows the host can’t leave early. That hospitality rule comes shortly after the first: Always have enough for everyone.
Right now, the boys are tucked in, I’m sitting in my bed, and the party continues. I told them they can stay as late as they want, whenever they want. I’ll leave the porch light on.
I said, “Good night, everybody. You’re my favorite.”
One of the girls said, “I’m writing that in my journal tonight.”
Another said, “It’s going on my FB wall.”
A Costco membership is a small price to pay for my children’s favor among their friends. And as an aside, there is community, friendship, and love. And sprinkles.
On my front porch.