Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hospitality Boundaries and Limits

My daughter, the gal with the giving heart came to me many weeks ago with a request: 

"Mom, can step sister #2 and baby almost 1 come and stay with us for a while? She is about to be homeless."

Yikes what could I say? We have a little extra room. 

Okay maybe even a lot depending on how you look at it. 

The daughter having moved down stairs, into the living room area, was willing to open all of that up. I figured we could make it work.

I wondered how much time we had to adjust to this idea. Not much or none as it turned out. So here they came. It was an adventure. 

I am not sorry that we did it. I know my daughter has learned lessons. She has also discovered where some of her limits and boundaries are.
I am not sure she will ever want to open our home up to host anyone again. Maybe if we had more space and the person could have their own room instead of sharing with her.

It is not that step sister did anything egregiously wrong. There are just the usual stresses of living with strangers and having a toddling baby scooting around.

Almost at the same time my daughter was pseudo adopting a new neighbors' out door cat. 

This meant having a new cat roaming around and slightly upsetting ours who is anti social and was already reeling from the idea of strangers being on the premises. 

I had to move her water source up stairs. Poor kitty.

I have a heart for single moms. I am just a softy that is where my daughter gets it. 
It is not just that I was 20 with no plan, no driver’s license, a part time job, no partner and, no college education when I became pregnant 16 years ago.

It was in many ways touching to have this new Mamma in our home. We agonized over how best to help her through and during this stage of what she is dealing with. 

We have been in her situation, homeless with little or no funding to help secure lodging for ourselves.

It can be harrowing. Staying with friends and family can be both a blessing and a curse amidst it all.

I asked my daughter to remember more fondly now everyone who ever took us in.  It is not just anyone who has the temperament, paid tenancy or not, to live with a single mother and her child(ren).

She looked at me with a bit of a new look letting that sink in.


  1. You are both awesome. For living through a situation where you had to accept housing from strangers,for remembering that time and opening your home to a new mother struggling with the same situation, and for doing this for someone connected to your ex in some way. (Stepsister connotes daughter of your ex's wife before she married your ex. Yikes! Complicated!)

    It can't have been easy, and I hope it doesn't wreck your daughter's desire to open her home to others, though I can totally see how it would.

    1. Well thank you. Actually I have the gift of hospitality. I have a love for people. None of our trials have totally quenched that. We are older and wiser but still loving and open.

      My daughter really just accepted the step kids as her siblings during the short lived 3 or 4 year marriage. So she calls them siblings not step. I identify them like that here on the blog to refrain from using names and so people would understand or at least kind of. I have had people think I am talking about me being a step mom.

      Instead I want to be a foster mom to teenagers but that time has yet to come.

  2. Replies
    1. Toddlers don't know any better. There is less expectation put upon them. The fact that we had to repair the screen door recently due to this whole adventure...just gravy. lol