I have to admit it, before I go any further: I’ve neglected my writing like our President has neglected a mirror. It’s been at least since the inauguration that either of us gave a second thought to the one thing we both obviously need in our respective lives.
So that said, let me catch you up. I can comfortably say “you” because odds are, you’re the only one reading this. Okay, so first thing’s first, it’s a girl! Secondly, we’re expecting! Thirdly, we’re hosting a foreign exchange student this year. Alright, now that the minute details are out of the way. Let me tell you what this is like.
It’s scary as hell. After you’ve had the conversation with your child, and she’s expressed her desire to host a student for a year. And you’ve talked about what that just might be like to have another human at dinner every night, or someone for her to giggle with in her room while they talk about whatever the hell 15 year old girls talk about, or how this new student will get all the attention and how jealousy is inevitable. And after you’ve laid in bed, just trying to crunch the numbers to determine if this is the (most fatherly phrase ever) financially feasible. Then you start the weird part.
You receive a handful of bios of perspective students. It feels too much like looking on Match, but since you’re reading about 15 and 16 year old girls, it feels very creepy. I mean creepy like, isn’t this the second favorite dream of every guy with a white van. That kinda creepy. But your daughters face lights up a few more watts with every bio she reads. Then the creepiness subsides, and excitement prevails. It’ll be a ton of fun. And so great for your only child, she’ll learn how to share. She’ll learn so much about herself. And you’ll learn so much about her. And this new kid, she’s going to be a sponge. Oh, wait till we show her the Plaza. Maybe we can take her to Los Angeles for Spring Break. Everyone wants to see LA, and with the amazing people I know in California, we can give her an LA experience that’s every bit as exciting as the movies she’s seen.
Once you’ve selected a new daughter, you go through the boring, yet stressful, administrative phase. The service comes and interviews your family, they do background checks and call your friends for references. And then come back to tell you how excited they are, because your friends spoke so highly of you, that you question if there’s been a mix-up, because that doesn’t sound like something your friends would say, or anything that would be said about you. And you realize, you’ve picked some pretty great people to surround yourself with, and you’re damn lucky to have them. Next, your daughter starts counting down the days.
The countdown is just numbers on paper, well, technically it’s just a screen. No one uses paper in 2017. But counting down to something you really have no concept of is pretty surreal. I might as well be counting down to the zombie apocalypse. Until the numbers on the screen are single digits, then it’s time to freak the funk out. We’re really doing this. We’re going to be responsible for another human for nine months. Not only do we need to feed her and water her, but we have to get her to school, doctors’ appointments, the muthafriggin’ mall, and Starbucks. And what if she dates? Then what if some boy breaks her heart? Oh, but what if she doesn’t like us? And holy crap, what if she doesn’t think I’m funny? Well, that would obviously be the fault of a language barrier.
Having your own kid, is like giving your anxiety a performance enhancing drug. Then adding a student, who understands English, but not at the speeds you speak it, that’s adding a few gallons of Red Bull and a 40oz of 5 Hour Energy chaser. But all this scary shit, is also why you’re so excited about the next year. It’s going to be a weird, exciting, terrifying, and emotional adventure. We’re four nights in, and I’m still scared to death. But I’m hopeful that this is going to be a great experience for all four of us, and I’m confident that my daughter is going to learn more this year than the other three years of high school. And while I’m lucky I don’t have any more hair to lose, I hit the jackpot, because I get to experience this with an amazing daughter and the best bride.