Now that I’ve gotten used to it, I find it kind of humorous when people are unsure how to refer to Elisa, especially if they don’t know her name yet. For example, a man at church a couple weeks ago asked me “How are things going with your … uh… friend… uh… roommate… uh … person. I figured out what he meant and said things were going well. As I spoke more, many of the things I said implied that it was a parenting role. His response was “Well it’s not like you’re a mom or anything… more like a sister or a roommate, right?”
Others also have hesitated to use terms like “mother” or “daughter” and to be honest, it was super weird for me at first too. But now, it’s just casual language for me. The cashier at Aldi commented on how she was excited they had lasagna noodles now. I replied with “Me too. Lasagna is my daughter’s favorite food.” When someone else asked me where I was heading the other day, I said I was on my way to my daughter’s volleyball game. Perhaps the funniest one was when a coworker mentioned to a mutual friend how we hadn’t seen each other much since I had a kid now and the friend didn’t know what to do and was confused by the thought that I had a daughter he didn’t know about.
So yea… it’s weird … and yes, she’s not my “real” daughter, but she IS already family. I sign on the “parent/guardian” line on permission slips and look forward to escorting her for her volleyball senior night next week. I stay up late helping her with homework and pack her lunch each morning. I’m teaching her how to do laundry and we share dinner together in the evenings.
I agree, it’s not conventional, and perhaps a little weird at times, but this call as an AFS Host Parent goes beyond simply providing food and lodging for a year-long guest. Oddly enough, I think that would be even more stressful. Call her whatever you want, but for the next 7.5 months (and even when she goes back home) Elisa is family… yes, I even call her my daughter. 🙂