“May your home always be too small to hold all of your friends”
You can read this Irish blessing as you sit in my dining room. You can spot it when you hang out in the family room too. It hangs over the entry to the living room and is now my daily reminder to be thankful.
A little back story. We have a really special street. It’s honestly the kind of place I always dreamed of raising a family. Kids run from yard to yard and we’re surrounded by really good neighbors. On Halloween night, every year, one woman who has lived on our street for over 30 years, cooks the whole block dinner. She calls it Soup Night and invites us all in, with our children, after trick or treating to enjoy delicious soup and a fun night with neighbors. It’s really one of my favorite traditions about where we live.
Our block consists of homes built in the 1920’s. They’re all old and a lot of our neighborly conversations end up turning to who’s replacing what and what the next renovation will be. As far as the size of our homes, I’d say size is all relative, based on where you live in the world, but the 1920’s was long before giant homes were being built in our country. We were all packed in our neighbor’s kitchen, listening as she told us about this year’s soup variety, eating and watching our kids run through the kitchen hyped up on sugar, when two people bumped into each other. The party’s host said, “Oh may your home always be too small to hold all of your friends”. We all smiled and laughed. How blessed were we to have such a place to visit on Halloween night and to have so many neighbors that wanted to eat dinner together that we were bumping into each other.
Now not to confuse you with the back story, but this is important too… one of my neighbors is my cousin. A cousin who is more like a sister and a best friend my entire life. I suppose that makes the block a little extra special for me. She caught my eye when our neighbor rattled off that Irish blessing and she knows me well enough, to know how happy those words made me.
So a few months later, on Christmas Eve, I opened a gift from my cousin: she had that very Irish blessing turned into a wood sign for me (yay Etsy). I was so excited.
Later that night, when I was done cleaning up from Christmas Eve celebrations and prepping for Santa, I looked at the sign and cried.
About a week before I hosted a Christmas party brunch for ladies in town. It was a really fun morning and afterwards I got text after text thanking me for hosting. All I could think during the party was that I wished my kitchen was bigger and how it looked crowded and I hoped everyone was comfortable. I thought if my kitchen were bigger, maybe I could have invited more people. What I should have been thinking was how incredibly lucky I am to be surrounded by SO many moms in town that want to spend a morning drinking coffee and mimosas with me. How having enough friends to make your kitchen look crowded is a blessing, not a problem to fix.
We get so easily caught up in wanting more, wanting bigger and wanting better. But honestly the best: those around us.
This Irish blessing has been a real blessing for my life and focus. It goes beyond the size of your house. It reminds me, in all aspects of life: do not focus on what’s missing, focus on abundance. What might seem like a problem, is small in relation to the good.
I don’t go anywhere with my clan of kids without someone telling me “my gosh you have your hands full”. I sure do. In this situation: what’s missing… many things (my sanity, a few extra hands, maybe a glass of wine), but the abundance…. to have my hands full with 4 children, full of life and joy… that is abundance, love and what’s important to remember.
Maybe I’m reading too into it. Maybe it’s a blessing that’s simply stated. For me, I heard it at the right place and at the right time in my life. When I heard it in that kitchen crowded with the best neighbors, it reminded me that there was no house I would trade for the place we were living and the people around us. It reminded me that I have far more to be thankful for than to complain about. It reminded me to have gratitude. For that I am thankful and will continue to read this blessing, as it hangs on my wall, every day.