Friday, August 29, 2008

Blast from the past (reprise)

It's an interesting time of year around our house. We're getting our 5th exchange student settled in and we're all still figuring out where we fit in this new family unit. This year we're hosting our first boy. He asked me the other day whether I’d noticed a difference -- well, besides the obvious. You know, tighty whities instead of pretty little panties and the like. Okay, so he didn’t mention underwear, but you know what I mean. No dramatic differences so far. One thing we've learned over our years of hosting is that kids are kids -- no matter where they're from. It's a wonderful thing!

My husband has been taking the boys to school and my daughter (recently returned from Europe -- nope, that's not a pretty shade of jealousy green I’ve turned -- not at all) and I share a ride to my office twice a week. Leaving the other three days for me to laze around in bed an EXTRA THIRTY MINUTES. Heaven on a pillow!

I was just getting ready to hop in the shower on Tuesday when the phone rang. I figured my husband had forgotten something, so you could have knocked me over with a feather when I answered it and it was our second exchange student. The answering machine was recording at the time, so I’ve been able to listen to the beginning of our conversation and you can clearly hear the shock in my voice when I said "HOLY COW!!" We lost touch a couple of years ago and I must admit that I figured she didn't remember her time with us very fondly. I'm paranoid that way.

But it was really wonderful to hear her sweet voice and we've exchanged e-mails and pictures. She's just as lovely as she ever was. She has graduated from high school in China and is now attending university in Australia. Which makes me feel -- repeat after me: old, old, old. Ugh. But very happy that we've reconnected. I hope this time for good! I don't like losing track of one of "my" kids. 'Cause once I've fed them, laughed with them, lugged them to school in the morning and home from extra curricular activities in the afternoon, taken them on vacations, and chewed them out for one reason or another, THEY'RE MINE FOREVER. Whether they like it or not.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Say what?

I was in the closest coffee shop to my office yesterday (in DESPERATE need of caffeine and could WALK NO FURTHER without my fix), when I overheard a couple of women talking.

Woman One: Did your kids have a good week?

Woman Two: Yes they did. But I was sick of them by the end of it.

Woman One: Shocked silence.

And rightfully so.

I can’t recall a time when I’ve ever been “sick of” my kids. Frustrated with them, yes. Irritated by them, yes. Sick of them? Hardly. Seems a bit harsh to me. I sure hope those kids don’t realize that their mother was, or has ever been, or ever will be sick of them.

Mostly I’m just amazed that they originated from me (why, yes, I did have some help from my husband but this is NOT THAT KIND OF BLOG).

I enjoy talking to them about whatever they want to talk about. Laughing out loud because they can be so very, very witty. Dancing around the kitchen with them to the beat of whatever music they’re into at the time. Admitting that why, yes, I did just attempt to apply the passenger brake in the car – but I occasionally do that with your dad, too, so don’t feel so bad.

Ever feeling sick of them? I don’t think so.

Although …

Given the state of my son’s bedroom right now, perhaps I may be revisiting the whole matter of illness caused by child.

This morning I told him he needed to get it cleaned TODAY. Because we’re picking up our latest exchange student on Thursday and we don’t want him to realize the instant he enters our house that we are slobs at heart. We like to break them in slowly in the mess department so they don’t immediately run screaming to the exchange program coordinator begging to be placed with a family that doesn’t use their dining room table as a flat filing cabinet.

I told my son that if he didn’t get his room cleaned, I was going to post pictures of it on my blog. His horrified “WHAT?” indicated that he thinks I have more than one reader. I don’t think I’ll enlighten him until after the room is cleaned.