On a recent trip to visit my boyfriend’s family, who live over 8 hours (driving distance) away, I had a hard time understanding why he took so long to leave. At every family member’s home we visited, I felt like we were overstaying our host’s hospitality, just a little bit. What I thought was maybe a half hour or so later into the evening than I considered appropriate, he sat still and continued chatting. On the morning of our departure it must have taken us 45 minutes just to get up off the couch to leave, and this was all before 6:30 a.m. Maybe its because this was not my family, but who knows.
I typically come and go as I please with my family. I see them fairly often so, I guess I get my “love fix” more than he does.
It wasn’t until I got into the car with him to leave that I got it (and a little teary eyed as well). This family, I met a week ago, who had been so openly loving, hospitable, and welcoming, made even me cry when I left. Blame it on lack of sleep or generally being a woman, whatever. What I believe happened was that I finally got it. I finally understood why it took him so long to leave – the woman we stayed with, his aunt, probably loves and shows her love more than anyone does for him, probably even me. She is openly happy, loving, warm, friendly, inviting, and laughs all the time. Beyond that, she and my boyfriend have grown from what seems like a loving aunt/nephew relationship to a strong, connected friendship – like a best friend you only manage to come across every once in a while, when you’re lucky.
There is a difference between being an openly loving person and being a good host. Openness, especially with showing love, comes easier to some than it does for others. A great host will make you feel at home physically. A host like this woman will make you feel at home in her heart, as part of her family.
Leaving a loving family is never easy. Especially when the alternative is dismal, cold, and often lonely. This week someone reminded me of a lesson in love and family – a true example of love – open, honest, and free – and an example of family – warm and welcoming.
Next time I’m home, I’ll stay a little later.