Flexibility is just one attribute I’ve learned to acquire in being married to Mr. Hodge. My husband is quite extroverted, spontaneous and determined. Over the last 10 years of marriage I’ve become accustomed to announcements that look like, “Okay. We’re leaving. Grab a jacket and let’s go.” My children have asked countless times, “Where are we headed?” to which the answer has almost always been, “You’ll see.”
This type of mentality has been interesting when it comes to an attitude of hospitality. Sometimes, the “we’ll see” outlook has amounted to a quiet evening spent with our small (ahem) family of 7 at home. Sometimes, however, it has meant that we find ourselves eating with a few other couples, who also have a few children, amounting to a group of 20-something, gobbling up food in a noisy setting. In all of these cases, if I’m honest, I can admit that I’ve grown and learned so much in the process.
To say that the art of malleability has blessed me for the sake of friendship and long-term relationships is an understatement.
This past summer I learned to embrace this type of flexibility when it came to summer nights at the bay. One Saturday evening in June, Mr. Hodge decided we should hoist the kayak on the car, pack up a Coleman stove and our camping kitchen, invite a few friends to join us and head to the bay for fish tacos. I said, “Yes!” and the result was glorious.
Despite the fact that our first attempt was a near flop, due to a missing connector between the propane tank and the Coleman stove, the effect was precious. While the wives waited for the men to head to the store for what amounted to a brand new stove, we watched the little ones cruise up and down the boardwalk and play in the sand, we fed babies and shared our hearts. Once the men returned, we continued the attempts to fry tilapia, heat tortillas and serve up fish tacos.
Though it was a fair amount of work to schlepp our goods up and down the grassy lawn to and from the car, we made good use of our time by helping the many children improve upon their bike-peddling skills, learn to lick their salsa and sour cream-clad fingers and spurred one another on to love and good works.
We carried on the tradition every free summer weekend we had and enjoyed creating many wonderful memories. The ladies pictured here are two, of a handful, who joined me at the bay this past summer. Amongst those women, we’ve experienced births and losses, diagnoses, moves, job changes and every other marked surprise this season of life can afford. Our times at the bay amounted to rather free-spirited, weekend nights, with the therapeutic ocean breeze in our faces as we changed diapers, fed our families, laughed about our days and discussed the possibilities of our futures.
In all of this, I’m reminded that hospitality really does start in the heart, because none of this fellowship occurred in my home.
And I’m so grateful that I said, “Yes.”