My mother used to say that the way to handle four kids easily was to have seven kids and have three of them be somewhere else. Since she did have seven kids, I guess she knew whereof she spoke. This evening feels like that. My sister’s family has been staying with me for over a week and at times the house has felt crowded. Adding five people to a household can do that. I also carried some internal tension because I feel responsible to take care of guests. Sometimes those two things combined with fatigue in unpleasant ways. Then my other sister came to stay overnight with her four kids. There were thirty-six hours of togetherness and activities. I felt on-duty as hostess pretty much all the time even though no one else expected me to assume that role. At four my second sister and her kids left. Those of the rest of us scattered into various pursuits and quiet games. Suddenly instead of being hosts and guests, we just relaxed. I wonder if this is a stage of an extended stay. I suspect it must be. At some point all the people in the household adapt and just begin to live around each other. Whatever it is, it is lovely. I can feel myself unwinding. Strange how a house with ten people in it can feel spacious and restful.