Open Home, Open Arms

If you read this blog last week, you’ll know that my young daughter voyaged quite a distance from home with her choir. Four thousand miles, in fact. She was away from us for 10 whole days, which meant that for 10 whole days I wasn’t hugging her, feeding her, bathing her (well, not that I still bathe her, but I do pay her hefty hot-water bill). For 10 days, my daughter was in someone else’s home – two homes serially, in fact – being fed, laundered and splendidly looked after.

It takes a special family to open their home to strangers. Even ones as sweet and cute as my daughter and her choir friends. These folks gave our children beds, fed them breakfast, chauffeured them around, packed them lunches, showed them the sights, and embraced them – in both the literal and figurative senses of the word. If I couldn’t be at my daughter’s side as she took in the exciting experience of Sweden, these families were definitely the next best thing.

I hope that they felt at least some payback. I hope my daughter gave suitable answers to all the Canada-themed questions that a set of nine-year-old twins peppered her with while their six-year-old brother listened shyly. (My kid makes these boys sound so adorable and delectable, she could almost have made a sandwich out of them.) And I hope my daughter remembered to smile, to pick up her damp towels, to make her bed, to say please and thank you (or, rather, “tack så mycket”).

In short, I hope the families’ experience was a positive one. Because there’s no question they made a difference. Not only for the 12-year-old girl travelling in a foreign country without her parents for the first time… but also for the anxiety-prone mom and dad who waited for her at home.

Our kid had a great time, and she’s got the memories – and the Dala horse souvenir earrings – to prove it.

Street scene in downtown Stockholm

Memories of Stockholm: Has Dave Nichol come up with a meatball sauce yet?

4 responses to “Open Home, Open Arms

  1. You’re so right that when you know your kid is looked after, it makes it much easier having them away. Our son is considerably older than your daughter and I worried about him living and teaching in S. Korea until we got to meet his friends and co-teachers when we went to visit after he’d been there about a year. Once I knew he had such a support group and teachers treating him like their younger brother (even going so far as to bring him left-overs to make sure he ate well.), then I didn’t worry anymore.
    Your daughter has had a life-altering experience with this trip, and I’m sure she will carry these wonderful memories with her. I’m also sure that she was indeed a wonderful houseguest, and will want to have someone come and stay with you sometime so she can pay this forward.

  2. I guess we mother bears never stop worrying, no matter how old our kids get… thank goodness there’s compassion in every community, even those far from home!

  3. have a nice trip=)

  4. If you read this blog last week , you’ll know that my young daughter voyaged quite a distance from home with her choir. Four thousand miles, in fact. She was away from us for 10 whole days, which meant that for 10 whole days I wasn’t hugging her, feeding her, bathing her (well, not that I still bathe her, but I do pay her hefty hot-water bill). For 10 days, my daughter was in someone else’s home – two homes serially, in fact – being fed, laundered and splendidly looked after.

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