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I like to think of myself as one who is able to receive guests at any time. I imagine I will always have fresh baking, the kettle will always be about to boil and there will always be wine in the wine rack. When I hear a knock at the door, I long to open it unflustered and welcome the unexpected guest as if his/her visit was expected. I long to live in a community where at any time a neighbor or a wayward traveler might stop to shoot the breeze and will always accept a sweet treat as we discuss the weather.

At precisely the same time, I long to live in a community where I know exactly what will happen so that I can be prepared for every eventuality. I will never have to invite someone into my home and then realize that I didn’t dust the piano or that I ran out of toilet paper.

I want to be the perfect hostess, prepared for any visitor, any time, but I’m just not Wonder Woman. So, when you knock on my door, and I appear flustered, know that it’s not because I don’t want you there, it’s because I want your visit to my home to be as perfect as it can be.

I still remember as a child being thrilled when an unexpected visitor would call – generally because I got a sweet treat. In truth, the unexpected guests that I really want to arrive on my doorstep are my parents. Every time there’s a surprise knock at the door, the hope inside me wells up and I think how tremendous it would be if they were on the other side of the door. Such is the hardship of living far from loved ones.