Over the last several years, the first day of school has been an emotionally charged day in our home. As host parents to five foreign exchange students, we’ve had the chance to introduce the coolest teenagers (in my humble and totally unbiased opinion) to their American high school and an entirely new lifestyle and mindset.
This year, our designated FES room is empty by choice. Cory and I have a long list of things the two of us want to tackle together throughout the coming months – home renovation projects, travel plans – so it won’t be a boring year by any stretch of imagination, but it will be a lot different. No serving as the FES taxi driver. No prom. No high school athletes to cheer on. No late nights trying to decipher physics homework or talk through plotlines from English class. No curfews or dating rules or attempts to stay on top of the latest slang.
Luckily for us, C recently came to visit us for ten days, and we easily fell back into our comfortable routines.
Some of our most treasured moments were in the most seemingly mundane activities – playing the train game, making friendship bracelets, having dinner as a family again, spending the day at the Caesars Palace pool. We also managed to squeeze in a few particularly notable memories as well such as riding the High Roller for C’s birthday, going to the dive-in movies at The Cosmopolitan and spending the day exploring Zion National Park.
Most of all, though, it was just nice to be with C, smiling and laughing and being with each other. It was like she had never left.
And, so, even as we embark on a new school year without a FES, we feel incredibly fortunate that we were able to spend at least a little bit of time with one of our very special kids.