In my mind, I imagine that I have a house.
It’s a pretty unremarkable house, but it’s my very own. In fact, I’m the only one that lives there.
For a long time, I’ve worked on my house. I’ve sanded and I’ve swept. I’ve painted and I’ve polished. I’ve dusted and I’ve decorated. It’s nowhere near perfect, but I’ve reached a point where I feel comfortable throwing out the welcome mat.
And then the visitors start coming. I let them in despite the fact that maybe the basement isn’t finished, or my room’s not cleaned, or there are dishes in the sink.
But it doesn’t seem to matter. They don’t care about a few crumbs, or the occasional dent in the wall. They just appreciate all the work I’ve done. They make themselves comfortable. It’s gratifying, having someone appreciate my house, having someone to show things to, and to talk about things with.
But sometimes, after I’ve showed them pretty much everything worth seeing, my guests start talking about other houses they’ve visited. Then they start comparing my house to these other houses. Sometimes, they even start looking out my windows to the other houses on my street. Newer, nicer, more interesting houses.
I don’t want my guests to be unhappy, so I start making sure my house is extra nice. I wake up earlier and earlier to clean up for them, and stay up later and later entertaining them.
But it’s hard making sure everything is perfect. And there are a lot of projects I’ve put on hold since my guests arrived. And there are other guests I want to invite. And there are other houses I want to visit.
But I can’t say anything, because they are guests; and you don’t make houseguests help you with your house.
Because my house is not their home.
And there is a big difference between “mi casa es su casa” and “welcome home.”