Louisa May Alcott once said, "'Stay' is such a charming word in a friend's vocabulary." So true! As I ponder those words, which I currently have written on my chalkboard, I wonder how many opportunities we miss to invite a friend, new or old, to "stay." Here are three ways I intend to invite my friends to do just that in the weeks ahead:
Invite them to literally stay . Have dear friends come spend a weekend. Make sure to have fresh flowers in their room, a stack of fun magazines near a cozy chair, favorite snacks and pop on hand, treats for the kids (like fresh new sticks of sidewalk chalk and a tasty array of Popsicles!) and a planned outing to one favorite destination for the girls and a favorite "boy" movie for the guys. Make cinnamon rolls. Build a bonfire (hey - it's spring!) Eat S'mores. Stay up late. Take naps!
Invite them to temporarily stay. Have new friends, or ones we don't know well, over for dinner. Make easy, comfort food (maybe grill outside?). Set out a snack for nibbling while last minute details are pulled together. Set the table prettily, but not too much so. The object is to make them feel welcome and special, not intimidated or uncomfortable. Have a special dessert for the kids (ice cream sandwiches or frosted cookies to decorate?) Ask about their lives. Be interested. Invite them back again, and mean it.
Invite them to figuratively stay. Geography often keeps us from sitting at the counter sipping tea, or strolling through a quaint town with our dearest friends. I have friends all over the country and the ones nearest to my heart are hours away. So, how do I invite them to stay? This invitation is one that says, please stay a part of my life, no matter where you are! I send emails and post pictures on this blog. When it comes to snail mail, there are funny cards that make me laugh out loud, packages full or little things that make me happy or make me think of the fun friend, and there are magazines, read with a Sharpie in hand, so I can comment and poke fun or point out great ideas - it's like reading it together! With far-away friends, we talk on the phone - sometimes it's an hour of catching up, sometimes it is five minutes to share the delightful/silly/ghastly/obnoxious/wonderful thing we just saw/heard/ate. We plan visits and we share news. We stay a part of each other's lives because our hearts are bound together, but our days are not unless we make it so.
If you are reading this, then you are a friend. I am not sure in which of the above categories you fit (maybe all three!) but I want you to know I treasure you! If you have never eaten at our table. Come and sit a spell! If you have never napped on our porch swing, sit and stay awhile! If you have never laughed at a card I sent...well, just shame on me! ;0)
I invite you to stay, friend!