I have friends over all the time. Our house is often filled with obnoxious teenagers who eat lots of food and run up the energy bill. Not only do Mommy and Mark welcome my friends into our home, but they also tell me to invite more. “Oh, Katherine, when is Alix coming over?” “Katherine, you should tell Payton to stay for dinner tomorrow night.” “Don’t you want to have Miranda and Lauren over tomorrow?” Why yes, that’s a great idea!
But apparently Hannah and I and all of our friends just don’t fill up the house enough. We decided that we needed another teenager in the house. In fact, we decided to import one from a foreign country.
And along came Tess.
When we were “shopping” for an exchange student, we had to read about Tess. We read about her interests, her family, her education, her allergies, her food preferences, her religion, and everything else that the exchange agency thought we’d like to know about her. We read that she was interested in cinematography, which is perfect because we’re a family of photographers. We read that she sings in a band, which is wonderful because our family is full of musicians; I sing, Hannah plays violin, Morgan plays the saxophone, Mark knows everything about music, Thomas’ favorite part of the day is playing piano. We read all of these things that just kept making us love Tess more.
And then we read that she’s allergic to pets.
As much as we love Tess, we love Brody (our not-too-bright black lab) quite a bit, too. We were thrilled about inviting Tess into our home for a year, but we were not willing to get rid of Brody. Brody sheds a lot, so having a pet in the house and a sneezy teenager probably wasn’t the best idea. But we’d already fallen in love with Tess!
To compromise, Mark said he would vacuum frequently. My mom said we could have Brody groomed often so that he won’t shed as much. Mark said we would brush Brody every night. They were willing to make sacrifices so that a stranger could be more welcome in our home.
I admire my mom and Mark. Not only do they welcome Hannah’s and my friends into their home, they also welcome strangers. Not only do they take in crazy Brazilians for 10 months at a time, they are willing to make sacrifices for other people’s comfort. Not only do they love their own kids, they love everyone else’s, too.