My daughter thinks it’s strange that I have this welcome mat placed outside the door leading to my laundry room rather than the traditional location on either side of the door leading into my home. I tried to convince her, over the course of several visits, that this location is perfectly normal.
There’s just something about a welcome mat that implies an openness to social interaction. This mat was purchased during a time when I thought I would make a sincere effort to be more social. It was a season of fresh starts and I had recently moved into my new space. I imagined that I would actually invite visitors in, announced or unannounced, providing them a safe harbor to wipe the dust from their feet prior to crossing the threshold into the inner sanctum. The effort was short-lived.
I’m one of those people who, unless I’m expecting company, is quite likely to ignore the tap-tap-tapping on my door. On those occasions when I have responded, I noticed that people had a tendency to look down and see the mat stationed just inside the doorway, with W-e-l-c-o-m-e spelled out in huge letters. And then they would look up with hope and the expectation that an invitation to enter my sanctuary was forthcoming. It wasn’t.
I started to feel a teensy bit bad for giving these people false hope, so I moved the mat to its current position outside the laundry room. It’s perfectly functional there – a snare for dryer lint and adventurous dust bunnies that attempt to hitch a ride to other parts of my home, and not a single shred of false hope.
On a recent visit (my children are always welcome and don’t need a mat to tell them so), my daughter questioned the placement of the mat again. I decided it was time to come clean. I explained to her that the mat had been strategically placed to prevent the escape of dryer lint, and to avoid giving false hope. She gave me a quizzical look that said, “I love you Mom, but do you have any idea how crazy that sounds when you say it out loud?”
I Ignored it, because she has given me that look before, and went on to explain that anybody who managed to get far enough inside to actually see the mat there, with its bold declaration, must be truly WELCOME. And then she understood. Because she knows me – and loves me anyway.