We had the most amazing Fresh Air experience with our host son "Z". At 6 years old this brave boy got on a bus-leaving all of his family, friends and the environment he knows- to spend a week with a family he had never met. Although the week was not with out homesickness and missing mom moments - he was able to rally his emotions and very much enjoy himself.
Last week- while Z was visiting with us. We visited a farm, went to the drive in, and beat me when we played mini-golf. He spent a lot of time looking around our house and marveling at the back yard. He attended a sports camp each morning, rode a horse, we had several picnics in the park. He played at an arcade, slept outdoors, listened to music by a fireplace while cooking s'mores. We went to the aquarium, to the local lake and to a baseball game. He tried out fishing with my mom and we went to a 3D I-Max film. "Z" played a ton in the back yard, swam in our neighbors pool. Z absolutely loved that our front door of our home opened directly to the outdoors as his home is in a large apartment complex in the city. "Z" loved our mailbox and would go with us to get our mail each afternoon. For a couple of the nights our neighbors were over for dinner and on one of them we made his favorite meal- fried chicken and macaroni salad. Although Chicken night was earlier in the week-he was still talking about how we all made chicken last night.
On a phone call with his mom yesterday- he asked "mom can I come back to this Fresh Air family next year?". This surprised me as it is from the same boy who after 2 nights from home was ready to pack his bags and never leave his mother again. With my eyes whelmed up with tears- I left the room to leave him some time to talk with his mom.
The sad moment arrived this morning where we brought "Z" back to the bus for his return trip home. On the way to the bus I asked him-"Z" what was your favorite part of this trip? Of all the things you did what was your favorite thing? Z's answer? "Swimming in the neighbors pool."
As for the rest of us- we're appreciating our lives here outside of the realities of inner-city life just a little bit more today and of course we're recuperating from an amazing week-with one very special little boy.