Tomorrow is the big day-- D arrives. He left for the airport at 4 am his time (8 pm our time) today. His new flannel sheets are washed and on his bed. His clothes are washed and put away in his dresser. Three of his four gifts are waiting under the tree, and those gifts have been the most challenging part of preparing for his return. Our family simplified gift giving last year and decided to use the same system again this year: Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read.
Read? English is his second language. We debated ordering Harry Potter in his language, but after texting with him, were thrilled to discover that he likes "Greg's Diary" in English. So Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are wrapped and waiting.
Want? Who knows what he really wants. He asked for a shirt that says "Captain Crazy" on it. (Thank you Doris at Winning Stitch-- it's perfect!). And he would like a package of Whoppers. He refuses to commit to any other gift idea or hope for a gift. Maybe he feels uncomfortable suggesting a gift. Maybe it's just awkward. I can't pretend to know. We spent five weeks with him this summer, but only now are really getting to know more about what he thinks and feels.
Wear? I almost teared up walking into a department store and being helped by a teenage boy with the same pants size and haircut. A few shirts are wrapped under the tree, but the majority of his clothes are waiting for him in his dresser.
Need? This gift has yet to be purchased. I don't know what he needs. At our initial hosting, I thought he needed many things, but I didn't really understand his situation. I probably still don't completely grasp the reality of his life. I believe he needs more people in his corner-- to believe in him, encourage him and just love him through his teen years. Because really, the teen years are hard enough on their own.
The only thing D has asked for is if we will bring coffee for him to the airport. He doesn't want to be sleepy on the way home, but wants to stay up and visit. This time tomorrow we'll be settling back in with him at home. Looking forward to the 4 weeks ahead!