Mothering to a Crowd…


In the category, time rolls by too fast, it’s been a month since my darling girl was here for a flying visit from her other, original home in the Faeroe Islands. Her primary reason for coming back, of course, was to see her friends in Owen Sound, but I was pretty sure she also wanted to see us… and she made a great effort to come ‘east’ to spend a couple of days here, which gladdened my heart no end.

Durita was a RotaryInternational Exchange Student for a year, travelling from a tiny country of 48,000 people and 100,000 sheep to come to a much, much larger country in every way… geography, population, number of
trees. Possibly even sheep, but I’ll leave that to others to determine. We were the second of her three host parents, and incredibly selfishly, I really, really wish we’d been her only set.

Life with Durita was always so much fun, always filled with so much laughter… even the day she got very angry with me for keeping her home from school and her play rehearsal because she had a bad cold and a fever. I let her go in the afternoon, and I think I’ve been forgiven. I taught her how to make pie, Jeffrey taught her how to ski, we went to Buffalo and to Montreal as a family, we went shopping, we played endless hands of cribbage, we watched “Friends” every time it was on tv, and started every day with lots of laughter over breakfast. We had a great time while she was living with us, and while two days was not nearly long enough, we did manage to get in some cribbage and some cooking, and of course the requisite shopping while she was here at the end of December.

Durita is one of those kids who will always find a way to fit in, to make friends, to do well. She has a remarkably sunny personality and easy way with her, and is at least as smart as she is pretty, and she’s quite pretty. Taking her into our home was both simple and a privilege because she came from such great roots at home in the Faeroe Islands, and because she represented her country and her family with such a great attitude.

Making the decision to be host parents for a second time (the first was 30 years ago! in Brunswick Maine, to a girl named Julie Danbolt from Stavanger, Norway. We weren’t old enough to be her parents so having Julie in our lives was like having a younger sibling to hang out with for four months – much fun!) was easy; it was the right time for us to have a kid back our lives again.

You know, for people who don’t have children of their own, we certainly have a lot children and teenagers in our lives. We think it’s important for young people to have lots of experience with lots of adults – people who have different view points and experiences than they might find with their own families. So we spend as much time as we can with our nieces and nephews, we’ve had exchange students and hockey players live with us, and we’ve been the house parents at the National Ski Academy in Collingwood (that’s three years that could be a book, but should definitely be a blog post of its very own!). It’s astonishing how much room there is one’s life, and one’s heart, for kids to fill up.

Durita has gone home, again, back to school, and I don’t think she’ll be able to come back to Canada for a while (although I have suggested she look into both Trent & Queen’s Universities because both are close to us and again, I appear to be a selfish mothering type). Nor does it seem likely Jeff & I will be able to travel overseas for quite awhile. So I content myself with conversations on Facebook and looking at old photos and remembering how much I love my darling girl and how much laughter and joy she brought to our home.

My friends will tell you that I am always talking about my own experiences with my own year as a Rotary student as well as international travel in general. I don’t think that there is a better way to improve the world than to
go out and see it. And I think you’ll be surprised to find that not only will you learn about the world, but you’ll find out a lot about yourself as well. Contact your local Rotary club for more information on their exchange programs, for yourself or your favourite kid.

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