Semipermanent House Guests

This week my big brother and a friend are moving in with us. 

I am excited to have Bob and Gretchen stay at our house for the next 6-8 months. They will be fun to have. Fun to cook with, eat with, decorate with and just be with. I love them both! Having fun family in the house again will be wonderful! But…

She never knew Andrew. She doesn’t know our family history or our difficult relationship with one of our kids. I don’t know her well. We will get to know each other, and I’m sure we will like each other. Two adult women in one house plus a college gal. This will be interesting!

He never had kids. He hasn’t lived near us, not ever until now. So he doesn’t know all our history either. He is a free-spirited kind of guy. He never married. He has lived and worked many places, many jobs. He’s been sailing the world the past seven years. He marches to the beat of his own drum, one that no one else on earth hears. I’ve always cared for and looked up to my big brother. Being the sister and the host will be a new adventure. Moving into a peer relationship rather than big brother/little sister relationship may be a challenge, but it’s one we are up for. 

I know he will ask questions. She will wonder. That’s who he is. That’s what anyone would do. 

Why do you believe this or that? What do you do all day? Why do your kids do that? Why do you do that? What’s up with this Jesus stuff? Where is the extra toilet paper? Can you put a little less garlic in next time? Can I help you with anything? Who are these people?!

Sometimes I enjoy just being home. Alone. In silence. My house is often silent now; there are only three of us living there. Michelle is often gone to work and school. Ron works a bunch. I am often home alone in the peace and quiet. That will change with two more adults in the house.

The next two months: Ron having minor surgery on his foot Tuesday. They arrive Wednesday. Thanksgiving at my house with two of our boys plus Ron’s brother and sister-in-law. Shopping. Decorating. Christmas concerts. Andrew’s birthday. Annual Christmas Eve Open House. 

We have a new grandchild due at Christmas so my oldest and youngest won’t be coming home then. (They live in the same town and Margaret wants to be there to help out.)  I’m not sure who will be here Christmas. Maybe a quick trip to meet the newest little one after Christmas. Then Margaret home for a week. Adam home sometime. Then our travels start up again. 

Plus, I’m still reeling from going over and over and over everything from those first two years as I finished the book. I’m glad I did it, but it opened wounds. I’m feeling emotions that I don’t like to feel: pain, sadness, sorrow, regret, doubts. I know I made it through the real thing, I experienced healing! I know I can recover from reading and writing about it! But I’m still feeling this stuff. 

My point?

I’m a bit nervous. I still have hard days that our house guests may not understand, though they are loving and kind. I’m not sure how we will handle it if they see me crying or silent and still. I want to show them love with honesty, transparency.

Please pray that I will have joy. Pray that we have peace in the adjustments. Pray that my grief and my joy in Christ can coexist even in the presence of these two people, that they may see Christ in me more than they see grief. Pray that I don’t lose it through the holidays. And if I do lose it, pray that they still see Christ in me. 

Thank you, Lord, for the honor and privilege of having house guests for the next few months. Help me to love them and honor You. Help me to continue to heal from the pain of losing Andrew. Thank you for letting me be his momma on earth for twenty years. Help me to love my other children and give me wisdom in dealing with them.  Heal relationships that need healing. Amen. 

family, house guests, joy, love, Prayer


I write about my life, my journey, my family, and my faith. I am wife to one, mom to seven with one in heaven, and grandmother to many. I am also full-time caregiver to my stepmom E who suffers from dementia due to Alzheimer’s. In my spare time I like to read, travel, crochet, bike, and play with our black pug Molly.

Comments (9)

  • You have to be commended Kathleen- these days no one would open their hearts or their doors for other people, even siblings. It is like after you all grow up, they are like ” competition”.
    When we have guests and that we have only for a day or two at a time, the one rule I try to follow is to be as natural as possible- none of our house rules change, if possible. In the beginning, after I got married, I had another sort of behaviour- trying to be servile and ever-attentive. But in the long run, I found that this is very taxing on me.
    In the old days when guests came to stay and resources were limited, we gave up our best room, our best linen, blankets and the best of food to them-that was considered good host behaviour and still should be, I guess but these days, I don’t have the patience to do this anymore.
    So my policy is the host remains as natural as possible- gets angry, cries, grieves, laughs, watches TV, cooks or does anything as would be done if alone. ( Bad, right ?)

  • Kathleen, when one of my sons and his wife and three kids stayed with us for several month, I made our bedroom my haven. If the door was closed, they all knew to leave me alone. No one was to knock or disturb me until the door was open again. I loved having them, but I also needed a place of quiet and retreat.

  • You’re going to have a taste of my life. My B&B is a boarding house in the winter–most of the lodgers are young people (usually male) who work at the local ski area. The only rule I have is respect for others.

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