Every once in awhile, you get to experience one of those ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ moments. Our week in VA wasjust that.
We arrived in this little town called Leesburg last week to watch my son, Jake, play in the Babe Ruth World Series. That, in and of itself would have been incredibly special, but this was just the beginning!
Jake and the team flew in a couple days earlier to practice, and were greeted at the airport by the host families. Jake was assigned the Falli family, and would be staying with two other teammates, Ryan and Cam. When I spoke to him, I immediately began to relax as he told me that he loved the family.
The next evening, when we arrived, we were invited to the Falli’s home for a BBQ for all of the teams and host parents. We were excited to see Jake, and to meet his host family. It’s a bit nerve racking, and we were really hoping that we would like the family that Jake was going to be living with! Needless to say, we would yank him from any house we felt that Jake was uncertain of. Yet, we had confidence in the Babe Ruth host parent screening process,. Also, Jake played in the World Series last year, and also had an amazing host family in Utah! We still talk to them often and hope to have the Smith family out soon. As a matter of fact, Brent, Holly and Kyle were following this year’s tournie from home!
When we arrived in the Falli’s neighborhood, I felt as though I was in a fairy tale neighborhood…each house neatly situated on 3 acres of gorgeous green grass…
As we drove in to the driveway, I began to smile… noticing the dune buggy, trampoline, swimming pool, volleyball net and hammock…’hmm…maybe they have room for me..”..nah…
As we walked around the rear of this gorgeous home, I noticed the back deck was full of Jake’s team member’s, the host families of each kid and us, of course…the families of the team. What a great way to start the week! I found Jake in the basement, which housed a pool table, air hockey, video games,..you get the idea. Pure bliss for these boys..
Each of the host parents had generously brought tons of food for the BBQ, and the Virginia hospitality was in full swing!
I left the BBQ that evening, feeling 100% confident that my son was with a family I could trust. What a great feeling! Except on the field, we parents only see our sons about maybe 2 hours of the 10 days, so it means everything to us!
What do the host parent do for our son…EVERYTHING! I mean, everything. They pick them up at the airport, and drop them back off. The host family does the laundry (gross, stinky uniforms), feeds them, carpools them to all practices, feeds them (three boys in this host house), arrives at the games with them an hour early, did I mention feed them? I could have listed more, but it honestly tires me to think of that workload! Wow!
When we arrived at the first game, there was Jake warming up, and the entire Falli family dressed in Tri Valley colors and ready to cheer us on!! Michelle brought shakers for everyone. They continued this incredible support through the entire tournament, with undying love!
It is one thing to host three dirty, sweaty, hungry strangers…it is another to give them a home…full of love and life…for 10 continuous days! Jake now has yet another extended family, including two gorgeous sisters, another brother and too amazing, caring extended parents.
During the week, between the laundry, carpooling, cooking and cleaning, Michelle found time to take the boys bowling, to a farm, you name it… I have no idea how she did it all..
Our boys ended up winning the tournament, so you can imagine how proud the host parents were too!! After all, they never could have won without proper food, nutrition, sleep, and care…
At the end of a long tournament, the Falli family graciously invited all of the host families, coaches, team and parents back for one more BBQ. When it was time to leave, it was so hard for our family to even begin to thank them for all that they have done. I could see that both Michelle and Pete, as well as the other host parents were beat, yet they were sad to se it end..just as sad as we were, and particularly how sad the boys were to leave their new friends and amazing relationships that they had kindled.
I have a feeling we will be seeing the Falli family of the west coast soon! I hope so, because they deserve to be ‘hosted’ with love. Now Jake has TWO extended families…there is no such thing as too much love!