(cross-posted on THE JEWISH CONNECTION)
I like my Shabbos "shlufs" -- my two to three-hour afternoon naps...the time to catch up on all the sleep that I lost out on when I was at the computer late at night during the week.
Problem is: sometimes I get to nap, other times I don't.
Sometimes it's too busy in our household, with the children having guests, with my own children who have no guests needing to be entertained, with the parents having guests, with our family invited out, with our Shabbos afternoon outings to the nearby park, where the children play baseball or on the playground equipment and the adults catch up on the news of the week.
In our community, which is a bit widespread, we live at the top end, thus making it somewhat of a hike from shul to visit the TorontoPearl family. I grew up with a 25 minute walk to shul, so it's not a big stretch for me, but sometimes my two youngest children feel that they're on a walkathon...without anyone having sponsored them! It's a pleasure for them...and me...when they tote along friends from shul for lunch and for a Shabbos play date. The route home doesn't seem as long in the company of good and cherished friends.
When we adults invite friends for Shabbos lunch, we have to think long and hard over whom to invite: Will they make the walk? Will they want to stay till Shabbos is out, if they find it too long a walk back home?
I'm certainly not always in the entertaining mood (remember, I like those long Shabbos afternoon naps) but when we do host, it's such a nice thing. My husband and I work side by side in the kitchen to prepare the talked-about menu, with me often his sous-chef and he taking the lead. But this joint effort results in a lovely-set table, a delicious menu, and the feeling that "we're in this together!"
Sometimes he gets the compliments directed to him for things I made, sometimes I get the compliments for things made by him. We share the compliments, the spotlight and the company.
Today's company did make the walk even though the adults are plagued by knee joint problems and the like. These were people whom I don't see all that often, but who, when we do host them or if we end up at their Shabbos table, have a wonderful, time together. We are equally blessed that two of our sons are good friends.
Kiddush/Shabbos lunch became an afternoon stay. To hell with my nap, I thought, I'm really enjoying this conversation and the presence of these people. The afternoon stay became Seudat Shlishit, followed by the end of Shabbos. I even jokingly invited the couple and their kids to stay over for breakfast...as they were on such a roll.
But of course, I was being cheeky, as Sunday (it's now already Sunday as I type this) is a fast day.
Good food, friendly and down-to-earth families, hearty laughs, good conversation, lovely zmirot, and children running in and out of the room...help make "this day of rest" what it is: a pleasure.