Many of you know that my family hosted an exchange student for the past school year. While Hannah came to America from Germany to learn about American life, there were many things I realized she taught us as well in her short time here.
I have really good kids. This one I already knew, but Hannah just reinforced it. My daughter and son are fairly well grounded and some of the advice I heard them give Hannah made this momma's heart proud.
I CAN share my space. One of the things I feared in taking in a student for the entire year was having to have another person around the house, getting in my space. I'm one of those 'I like it the way I like it" people. I like falling asleep on the sofa at 7:30 some nights, eating pancakes for dinner, and doing laundry on Saturdays. Another person around here might complicate things. Thankfully, it didn't. We were all able to coexist.
Our family has some pretty cool traditions. Be it family dinners on Sundays with the grandparents, singing "Let It Go" when arguing begins, or giving everyone nicknames (Hannah became known as HB, short for Hannah Banana), Hannah reminded us that these things are not 'usual', but that she loved them. I found it to be a huge compliment when I was singing my good morning to her one day and she commented that her mother would never sing.
There is always something to discover. Hannah had never had grilled cheese. When I took her to the Cheeseapalooza Festival in Kenosha (yes, there is such a thing), she fell in love with these sandwiches. Who knew? Having Hannah here encouraged our family to go new places and try new things too.
My heart has an endless capacity for love. Hannah quickly became part of our family. She became a sister to my kids (without the bickering and the need to sing "Let It Go.") and I swelled with pride at her many successes at school, like when the band director took time at the final spring concert to talk about Hannah and how much he enjoyed having her in the band. Hannah became a daughter to me. It was very difficult to send her home.
Would I have known all of these things if we never had Hannah stay with us?
But it wouldn't have been as much fun.
For this, I celebrate.