To be clear I do want a bigger kitchen. Not only would extra counter space save my life, a larger house might solve some of my issues. I would be more sane if I could see toys spaced out rather than thickly layered across my living room floor. And it would be heavenly to have a reading chair in my bedroom. Throw in an office or a craft area. And then give me a space to cram everything into right before guests come over. Then, I’d be set.
People want bigger houses. Time and time again, I’ve heard people wish they had more space mainly because they want to invite people over. They want to host gatherings. They want to build community. But sadly their homes are too small. At least that’s what we think.
Anytime I feel cramped and limited with my current space, I think back to the days of Mrs. G. Mrs. G was one of my childhood friend’s mom. Her home wasn’t in the safest of neighborhoods (weren’t there chickens next door?) And she didn’t have a huge yard to host outdoor bbqs. Her driveway didn’t fit many cars. She didn’t even have a gallery wall. Nonetheless, she sure knew how to host a good party–and lots of them.
Mrs. G’s oldest son and my oldest sister were in the same college crew and so there were many a day when in middle school I’d tag along to Mrs. G’s house. There were also times when she’d invite our family along with others to join her family for a meal. She cooked her heart out (that was her love language) and everyone always had a great time. To this day, I guarantee that there are countless young adults who will vouch that Mrs. G’s house was the place to go. Whoever walked in the door was always fed and welcome.
The thing that gets me is that every time I was there, I never felt claustrophobic nor cramped. I did notice, however, that her kitchen was by far the smallest one I’d ever seen. The counter was u-shaped. It was no more than three feet wide and could house a few people standing side by side, but there was no room for a table, much less one of those grand kitchen islands that is almost a must in new homes today.
It was small, but the hundreds of people that went in and out of Mrs. G’s door clearly didn’t care. They were excited to be in her home and they always came back for more. For Mrs. G”s food. For more time to hang out.
Some days I feel uncomfortable inviting people over. In my home, kids are flying off couches and ants are typically feeding off crumbs on my floor (don’t judge!). My house is no mansion and I hate to admit it, but I just can’t offer that HGTV experience.
On those days where I consider not inviting someone over because my home is not quite up to par, I give myself a good whack and think back to Mrs. G. Because there was power in her small kitchen. Her home was much smaller than mine, but that meant nothing to the people she welcomed in. Every inch of her house was used to bring others together. From her, I’m reminded that hospitality/community has so little to do with a clean spacious house. It doesn’t even have to do with good food.
It’s about invitation and sharing what you have, rental or owned, studio or mansion with others. People are honored when someone invites them over. They will drive even an hour to accept your invitation. Though they may notice the ants on your floor, what they’ll really remember is your hospitality. Ants are not worth losing sleep over.
So, in honor of Mrs. G’s life, I dare you to invite a friend over even if you lack square footage. If you can’t cook, be even braver. Order delivery pizza or serve cereal and be proud of it. Because small spaces have so much more potential to welcome than you would imagine. Mrs. G proved it.