Volleyball has a definite place in my family’s life. My husband and I played on a volleyball team together when we met in college. He stayed with the sport much more seriously than I did (I took many years off while having our children). A few years ago, we built a pool and beach volleyball court in our back yard. It was the best thing we ever did. Our home has become the gathering place for family and friends. My husband has friends come over to play regularly, and we frequently have family gatherings. Now, the next generation is joining the fun. My niece plays volleyball year-round now, both for her school and for a club team. And my 12-year-old and my nephew began playing doubles together at the beach this summer. Yesterday, my niece invited her school volleyball team over to our house for a pool/volleyball party to celebrate the beginning of her team’s season.
I am so thankful to have the great fortune to be able to build this wonderful gathering space and to continue to have our friends and family here with us. My children and their cousins are growing up close to each other, which is pretty hard to accomplish in our fast-paced, disconnected society. In addition, my children and their friends can frequently be found hanging out together in our back yard. I like it when they are close and I know what they are doing. It gives me a chance to meet and get to know my children’s friends and to welcome them and help them to feel comfortable here.
So many people have asked me why in the world I would put all this in our back yard and why I would allow or even want so much commotion in my household. There are two very real reasons. First, I grew up as an only child, and my house often felt very quiet and lonely. I was happiest when my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents came to visit. For that reason, I always wanted a large family with lots of activity (boy, did I ever get my wish!). Second, I want my children to feel that their friends are welcome in our home. I want our home to be a place where they all want to hang out. It feels comforting to have them close and to be able to know what they are doing and with whom.
Have you ever considered this topic? What are your feelings about this in your home?