My daughter has had a friend named Sophia since the 5th grade. They were cheerleaders together in 7th and 8th, and this year they are seniors. They met in a parochial school, and now they each go to different high schools. Sophia is very creative and has always had a very unique and unmistakable style; she's about 4'10", long big dark curls, and might wear something like colorful sneakers; torn, faded jeans; t-shirt, long string of big pearls, bracelets, big glasses, and a big smile. She drives a bright yellow bug.
Tonight as we usually do we went to one of her school plays. She's been in each production since Freshman year. It was a good play. Sophia is the kind of friend who becomes part of the family. That's because she shows so much love and appreciation to the adults in her life, from her own parents and family, to me and I'm sure to many others. Once she even texted me "I'm thankful for you" on Thanksgiving. She went to NYC with my daughter and me 2 years ago and we're planning a Spring Break trip with her again. She's the easiest and most appreciative teen (aside from my own!) that I could imagine having along with us. I've been so blessed that my daughter has always chosen her friends incredibly well!
My (oldest) daughter is not the big play fanatic that I am (from age 13 I was combing through all those big red yearly theatre books in the library and memorizing cast names of plays I'd never seen) but because of me she has seen a LOT of plays and has come to really enjoy them. And we like supporting Sophia in her many play appearances because we know how much she puts her heart into the theater program and have always hoped she'll continue with her talents in some way (which she plans to do).
What strikes me about Sophia and makes it easy to "embrace her" as a family member is that she really "gives back" in interest and affection and is completely sincere about it. It really makes a difference. She's devoted to her parents also - she's spent almost every evening at the furniture store they've owned for years, helping out, and now she's planning to go to college in Houston so she can continue to be there for them. And this is the same girl who lives for Warped Tour and knows a lot of bands like the back of her hand to the point of knowing them personally. She has her own unique opinions and anyone would think of her as a free spirit - which she is.
That's Sophia, whose roots are Ecuadorian, whose heart is huge, and who is always welcome in our house - such a comfortable and kind young girl to have around.