Day 2: Compassion and a willingness to give are important.

My mom has always been the kind of person who is willing to invite ‘outsiders’ to join us. When I was a sophomore in high school my older sister had a friend, Jolene. Jo had moved to our small town with a family who had spent a few months living in her area in Oregon. Once she got here she realized maybe she didn’t want to live with the original family as there were a lot of thing going on in the house that she didn’t want to be part of. After a year, my mom found out about this and offered to let Jo live with us. We rearranged bedrooms and she took a room upstairs, where she lived until graduation. She wasn’t a relative, nor did my mom have a responsibility to take care of Jo, but she was more than willing. Jo never paid rent or helped with the grocery bill, she was just welcomed with open arms. She’s still in touch with my family today.

Also, for a couple of years Bill and I had foster kids living with us. Whenever we brought them to visit familyw ith us, my mom made them welcome, gave them Christmas gifts just like the grand kids, and took time to listen to them. I know the first group of kids really loved coming to my parents’ home, and I know she was the biggest part of that.

I think it’s sometimes hard to open up your heart and home to strangers, but she has always been willing to let us bring home friends from college (I had a Japanese roommate who came to lots of family gatherings) to coworkers. Her example taught us all a lot.