I feel like my last post about hosting was a bit of a Debbie downer – all the tiring and challenging and head-scratcher aspects of hosting, rolled into one overtired schpeel. Today’s about balancing the picture out a little.
Two things that have encouraged me a lot in reflections over the last two days:
1 – The “magnifying-glass-to-household-dynamics” reaction to hosting a guest, disconcerting though it may be, is normal. So is a sense of insecurity about how your guest may be experiencing the situation. Exhibit A: Jen (brilliant) Fulwiler of Conversion Diary, when she hosted “Anna” through Kid Save a few summers back:
“Today is day six of our experience as Kidsave hosts, and so far almost everything is going well. I say “almost” not because there are any problems with Rita — she is delightful — but because I’ve been surprisingly stressed about making sure that she has a good time this summer… In my more neurotic moments I feel like I have nothing to offer her. I worry about Rita comparing her days to those of the other Kidsave kids, wondering what horrible thing she must have done in a past life to get stuck with us. Though we are doing our best to make sure she has a great summer, what our best looks like is more humdrum and involves listening to a lot more screaming than what others could give.”
This post helped me so much. In a prophetic moment, I actually bookmarked it back in May when I first read it, so I had it on the ready. Godsend.
2 – A “boring” summer is far from a bad thing. In fact, it’s an awesome thing. I absolutely adore what Molly of Moose in Moscow says about one of her goals for her 11-year-old host daughter this summer:
“One of my goals was to give Big L a boring summer. A summer filled with ordinary days. Lightening bugs, and bike riding. Swimming and camping and food right off the grill. No big adventures needed, just family time.”
Brilliant, right? And so well-said.
As far as embracing the “boring (but good)” around here…. We’re finding our normal and embracing it. We’re opting to keep W. off the computer. In the evenings, W. and his host dad have been watching 15 – 20 minutes of a “bigger kid” movie once all the younger kids are in bed. Right now it’s the new Spider Man, which they’re both enjoying. Bit of casual male-bonding. Bedtime is 9:30. And I’m now feeling fine with that. We’ll get some Wii time this weekend with family who have it, and we may borrow the Wii for the boys to play together occasionally. A good media compromise.
But in the meantime, the boys have been bonding in the past two days over soccer. W. adores soccer and plays goalie, and our son approached him last night and said – verbatim – “I don’t know much about being a goalie; will you teach me?”. Melted my heart. W. gladly agreed and went out and gave him a 45-minute full-bore goalie clinic, which captivated his pupil. It nearly brought a tear to my eyes, it was so warming to behold.
While I’m on it and for good measure I’m going to throw in a few things I love about W.
- He loves to throw himself into all activities, new or old. This kid likes to BE ENGAGED. It’s such a great quality.
- The chaos in the car notwithstanding, he’s not only tolerant but generally helpful. Helpful with the sticking door. Helpful with fetching items for demanding Littlest. And generally helpful with the younger kids needs/requests. Today he even shared his cell phone so they could check out his games.
- He willing throws in with the other kids, has a good sense of humor, and shares it generously with his host family.
We are lucky for the time we get with this kid. He is all kinds of inspiring.
(Part of a blogging series on orphan-hosting with Project 143)
Originally published July 7, 2014.