Does anyone remember that book, My Mother, Myself? As an entry in the nature vs. nurture debate, it posited that our mothers are a key influence in our lives, and shape the sort of women we grow up to be. I think I was a teenager at the time it came out, and the thought of becoming my mother was horrifying to me. Now, of course, I'd love to be even half the woman my mother was. But the reason I bring it up is because I often wonder how much my house has affected the person I've become.
I guess my experience is not really a common one -- I've lived here pretty much all my life, with a few short breaks here and there. This is a very small house, with not much room for entertaining. It is the sort of house that is very intimate and comfortable for one, or two, or four, but after that it gets a little crowded. We have had 22 for dinner (buffet, of course!) but that felt like we were bursting at the seams. Eight or ten seems to be a more comfortable number.
Now, I have to tell you that we do not entertain much, except for family gatherings at holidays. This has a lot to do with time constraints, and personal inclination (too much work!), and even character. Both my husband and I are not really super outgoing people, and we cherish our quiet home as a refuge from daily stresses. Also, I tend to worry about appearances -- the house is messy, the carpet on the stairs is threadbare, the bathroom ceiling is peeling... you get the idea. This I think I get from my mother! :) But I sometimes wonder if I'm not the entertaining sort because I grew up in a house that is not designed for huge gatherings. Would I be different if I had grown up in a big house? Would I be more inclined to have a huge party if I lived in a huge house?
Actually, I think I was just born shy, and I'd feel lost in a big house. But I always wonder...
What kind of parties do you give, and do you feel that your childhood home or upbringing influenced the way you entertain now?
(This is my idea of the perfect "entertainment" -- sitting in front of the fire on a chilly evening, my husband on the sofa next to me, my daughter laying on the floor, and my son lounging in a chair with his feet up, everyone engrossed in a good book!)