I discovered a new goal of parenting a couple of weeks ago when my daughter called.
“Would you mind…,” she began, “if we host the Easter dinner this year?”
And then she went on to dispense parental banalities about timing and naps and baby schedules and including both in-laws and out-laws, etc., etc., and how it would be better if they could just host the dinner at their house — if we didn’t mind.
Mind? She had me at “host.”
“That would be great!” I told her.
My daughter, who had inherited my husband’s gene for delegation, immediately began working out who would bring what. She would ask her mother-in-law and her brothers to bring a specific dish or item, and she gave me my assignments too.
Wow. I felt I was getting off light.
Typically, I host our family gatherings, holiday, birthday, random celebration or otherwise. My daughter will ask me what she can bring, but unless my husband or son is grilling, the rest falls on me — and I, the proverbial Little Red Hen (albeit tall, blonde or brunette, and human), “do it myself.” Actually, unlike the Little Red Hen, I don’t even ask for help. And so I plan. I invite. I list. I shop. I clean. I prepare. I clean. I set the table. I decorate. I cook. I clean. I cook some more. And I am usually still in the kitchen when the guests arrive, frantically finishing and realizing I hadn’t applied a bit of makeup or tidied my hair.
I am not one of those hostesses who manages to have every detail completed plus her hair coiffed, makeup donned, and an ability to focus a greeting upon every guest upon his or her arrival. I seem to work every moment up to the dinner and then work to clean up when it is done.
So was I pleased to have my daughter and her husband host a holiday dinner? Absolutely!
The day before Easter, one of my former neighbors popped over for a visit. We caught up on family details before she asked, “What are you doing for Easter?”
“Actually,” I said, “Laura is hosting Easter dinner this year.”
We both did a little celebration dance, high-fived and yelled “Score!” Well, not exactly. But that was what we meant when we smiled knowingly at each other. This change, we knew, was a big deal.
And then my elderly friend said, “I still haven’t achieved that goal.”
Ah. I hadn’t realized having one of my children host the meal was a goal. But I knew then that it was a good one.
The day came, and I was busy with my assigned tasks and a couple others I’d piled on myself because, apparently, I must take the role of Little Red Hen whenever possible. Despite my best efforts, I arrived a few minutes late — and my dear, sweet daughter took it in stride.
We ate when all had arrived and enjoyed time around the table. The guys stepped outside to play horseshoes, and Laura invited me to join her in Niko’s nap time ritual. My husband stepped into the room a couple of times to join us. (Later I discovered that my son-in-law had encouraged him to join us.) We don’t see our only grandchild nearly enough because of our work schedules, and it was precious to share in these moments.
Afterward, my daughter continued to play the consummate hostess, filling and hiding plastic Easter eggs for my son’s girlfriend’s son to find — all 28 of them. We shot a huge family photo — in-laws, out-laws, all my loves — to end a wonderful holiday celebration. I learned a lot by watching my daughter and her husband graciously host their first large family event.
As we were leaving, my daughter thanked us for allowing her to host the meal — and seemed to suggest we could rotate the role through the various homes.
“Nope,” I declared with a smile. “Tag! You’re it!”
“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 123:7, NASB).