Fostering a Stranger

Ah, PJ. Probably the brother I can be the silliest with. No, seriously. We can be quite juvenile with our shenanigans. We’ve had pranks involving birthday cakes, salt water ice cubes and haunted barns. We became friends first because of the school plays. Then there were the late nights playing billiards and hitting up Denny’s afterwards.

PJ and his family took in a strange, brown island kid in his Senior year so that he didn’t have to move yet again mid-year during his all-important final year of high school. They welcomed me into their home as one of their own and I couldn’t have asked for greater extended brothers and parents.

What most struck me about all this was that while PJ and I were good friends at that time, this selfless act of kindness far exceeded anything those early bonds of friendship could have expected. It couldn’t have been easy, having another body in the house, snatching crumbs from two hard-working parents. They did this without hesitation and with no less love than they would have for one of their own sons. I spend my life thinking and working for the day that I can even come close to repaying them for their love and sacrifice.

In the years since, visiting PJ and the family has always been like going home to sanctuary, safe and warm. Despite the years and distance, we always fall back in as if no time or space has passed. PJ and his family have taught me that relatives are who we are given but family is who we choose.