Our Five Ring Circus: Awaiting Benno

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Awaiting Benno

In 2005, my parents took in a foreign exchange student from Germany.

At first, I thought they were crazy. They raised 8 kids, had well over a dozen grandchildren, and had only been living a few years on their own, without a child in the house. But they were looking at it as a way to take their minds off the recent, devastating loss of their home and most of their possessions.

It turned out to be one of the coolest things things they have ever done. Benno fit in perfectly with our family! Dylan was just 9 months old when Benno arrived, and he adored him. Benno was with my parents for a year, and my parents even became close to Benno's parents, who flew in for a visit at the end of the school year.

Saying goodbye to Benno was incredibly difficult. The day he went home, Dylan and I both ended up sobbing as he drove away to the airport. By the time he left, I considered him a brother, and Dylan only knew him as Uncle Benno.

I wasn't sure if we'd ever see Benno again, but was hoping we would. Fortunately, Benno and his family stayed in close contact with my family. A year and a half after he went home, Benno returned for a few weeks. It was wonderful to see him again, and this time, he got to meet Lexie, who was just an infant.

We are still close to Benno and his family, but it has been over 2 1/2 years since we last saw him.

Today, that changed! Benno arrived for a month-long visit.

My dad took Dylan to the airport to pick up Benno. Dylan has been asking about Uncle Benno's arrival for weeks! He was so excited today, and when my Dad picked him up, he wasted no time getting into the car. Literally. He was going to the bathroom, heard the doorbell ring, and ran down the hallway, still in the process of pulling up his pants!

My dad told me that when Dylan spotted Benno, he called his name, sprinted across the airport, and flung himself into Benno's arms. It amazes me that he wasn't even 3 the last time he saw Benno, yet remembers him so well.

I have to admit, as Benno walked into my house, I teared up. It was so wonderful to see him! You don't realize just how much you miss somebody until you see them in person.

Lexie doesn't know Benno, other than to see framed pictures at my parent's house, and to hear his voice on the phone. She was wary of him, as I expected, but kept talking about him after he left. I have a feeling she's going to warm up to him quickly!

Dylan is so excited to have Benno here! He immediately took him to his room, and insisted that they have a lightsaber duel!

Saying goodbye is going to be just as difficult this time. I am dreading it! When Benno leaves the States, he is flying to Japan, where he will be spending the next year.

Keep your eye out for Benno. He started to learn magic tricks while he was here 4 years ago, and has become quite good. As in, he spends his weekends performing, and makes quite a bit of money doing so!

We are so happy that Benno is here! We are looking forward to spending a lot of time with him!


  1. How cool that he was able to come for a visit!!

    That picture is too cute!!

  2. Awww! Sounds like Benno was meant to be part of your family! I love how Dylan adores him! Have a wonderful visit - and lots of pictures please :)

  3. That is so neat! How old is he? Dylan looks so happy to be with his Benno :)

  4. I hope you enjoy your visit with Benno. It is amazing how people we don't expect can touch our lives! Have a blessed week!

  5. glad he could come back for a visit

  6. What a sweet story. Look how Dylan is just beaming in his Uncle Benno's lap. Or is Uncle Benno beaming because he's holding Dylan?

  7. He sounds super cool! I think it is amazing the lifelong relationship this has made for your family. Can't wait to see more!

  8. how exciting to have him here for a month and that you get to spend time with him! Enjoy the time with him as I am sure the month will go by fast.

  9. So neat!!! I know you will enjoy your time and make lots of new wonderful memories!


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