So today is about the ancient grace of hospitality. We are finally having Steve’s sister and brother-in-law over for dinner. I am excited to host them here for the first time. I’m making a Dijon-rosemary pork tenderloin with red potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and butternut squash. We’ll sip martinis and nibble on Stilton cheese and Kalamata olives to begin with, and Cheryl’s bringing the wine and dessert. It brings back memories of the anticipation in the air when my mother would have one of her gourmet dinner parties. Of course, hers were on a much grander scale. There is housecleaning to do first. The meat’s been marinating since last night. The squash goes in the crock pot 4 hours in advance. I think of Middle Eastern feasts that take days to prepare and days to consume, and I figure I’m striking a balance. Not too fussy, but some fussing. I want to communicate that they definitely merit some special effort, but I want to be able to enjoy their company when they get here and not be rushing off to the kitchen to babysit the food.
I have an endless fascination with family. I came from a family of 7. Steve just has one sister and neither of them have children. The dynamics in his family are completely unique, of course. I suppose I am looking for clues about why he is the way he is and why that is different from the way I am. I am building appreciation and understanding with every opportunity I have to interact with them. I want to be open to whatever the evening will bring. I want to be fully present and aware. And around the edges of my consciousness, I know that I want to make a good impression so that they like me. That’s my people-pleasing habit, my achievement-oriented perfectionism. I always want to earn gold stars so that I can pat myself on the back and feel affirmed. So, yeah, that’s duly noted and released, like those wandering thoughts I have in meditation.
Building community is essential to the unity I was writing about yesterday. I suppose that we start practicing that in families. I will be keeping that in mind and will write more of about that as the next step in our Saving the Planet dialogue.