For the last five years I have been politely declining dinner invitations to your home.
I know you have fabulous hospitality gifts and I want to eat your delicious dinners and scrape my fork on your gorgeous wedding dishes. I can picture your centerpiece, smell the candles and hear the hipster music playing in the background.
Then a loud, old-school record scratch wakes me up from the daydream of what I might think it would be like to come have dinner in your home.
I remember one large very important detail.
I have small kids. Four small kids.
I love them to pieces. I love the dirt under their nails at the dinner table, their loud burps followed by their giggles and their ‘scuse mes, I love their spilled chocolate milks and the food that seems to end up mostly on the floor instead of in their sweet little baby mouths.
I love them to pieces.
However, I have politely been declining your dinner invitation for five years because of them.
Most nights collectively, my children spend ten minutes sitting at the table before asking to be excused and swirling off like tasmanian devils (cute and very loved tasmanian devils). We send them outside or in the basement just so my husband and I can hurry and shovel dinner in our own faces before some else needs us.
Just two weeks ago I ventured out to your home with my kids for a church picnic. In the hour and a half we were there one of my children kept peeing in their pants. He went through three changes of pants. Three. I was in the bathroom changing pee pee pants three times in the ninety minutes I was in your home. One time while exiting the bathroom I found another one of my children playing your piano with his chocolate covered hands. Just as my panic attack was beginning to my make neck tense up and my head shake someone spilled water on your arcade basketball game and maybe tried to ride your dog.
That’s right. It was time to go. I shuffled my children out the door, thank youed and apologized several times while bringing my three pairs of pee pee pants home in my purse.
Just two nights later another you invited us over for dinner. I accepted thinking we may be able to have a decent time. Your family also has four kids so I thought we may be able to make it through the evening without the pee pee pants or my tense neck and shaking head.
We almost made it until my two year old began stripping all his clothes off down to his nude birthday suit on your back deck. My infant was crying and exhausted so I tried nursing her upstairs in your master bedroom but my baby kept screaming. She wanted her swaddle and she wanted her bed.
And lastly. We didn’t have pee pee pants but one of my boys was too scared to ask to go to the bathroom with the big crowd so he just pooped in his underwear instead. This evening’s consellation was poopy pants in my purse. My child pooped his pants at your house.
We had a great time but the drama. Oh the drama my kids certainly like to save it for their mama.
Last night, I invited you to my house for dinner instead. I thought in my own house I could control the poop and the pee and the chocolate covered fingers and faces. I thought while my kids played with their own toys I could look you in the eye and chat about your marriage, your job and ask you what God is teaching you. I thought maybe we could joke and laugh around my table of mismatched silverware and a bottle of red wine.
I love my kids to pieces but they brought slugs and caterpillars in from outside to show you at the table. I love them to pieces but two of them pooped in their pants together outside while playing in on the swing set. And then my oldest child barfed. Right in the middle of the kitchen, coating the hardwoods with the soup I just served everyone and reeking up the house so badly you couldn’t even smell that Yankee Candle I lit for you anymore.
I apologized again and thank youed you for coming as my kids blew kisses and chased your car down the road. They said, “See you soon” as they chased you.
Phew I thought. I don’t think I can do this again for a long time let alone soon the tension in my neck started to come as I thought about it.
I love my kids to pieces. But this is why I have politely been declining your dinner invitation for so long. It’s not how I feel about you, it’s how I feel about pee pee pants in your house. Maybe in a few years once we are beyond the pee pee pants and the strip shows can we look you and your husband in the eye and chat over dinner.
For now it will just have to be the hubs and I, shoveling the food in our mouths and living these crazy years with littles laughing together. We love them to pieces but we’ll keep them and their pee pee pants to ourselves at dinner time.