I’m traveling. Instead of a hotel, some fairly new friends are hosting me. I met him at a conference and have shared a couple of meals with he and his wife when I’ve been in town. This was a big step in the relationship. Adding someone you kind of know into the family mix can be tricky and potentially awkward for everyone.

As a kid I found sleepovers difficult. It was hard to just fall in with the customs and habits of other people. The worst was my grade six soccer exchange to Seattle. Not only was it totally weird to have jello on my dinner plate, but was made worse when I felt the obvious plastic sheet on my bed – clearly my mum had given the host family a heads up on my ‘issue’.

But now, as I stepped in the door, hardly having set my bag down, I heard “Rory, before we even put a glass of wine in your hand, I need your opinion on something”. I have to say, that was a brilliant opener. Way better than ‘hello’. I felt included.

The evening just went from there. I had offered to take them to dinner, but instead they wanted to stay in and cook. We sat over food and wine and the conversation quickly moved beyond the weather and ski conditions.

I’ve come a long way. Sleepovers are now a hallmark of my close relationships. In some cases it’s been simply a couch, in others the kids have been displaced to make room. The vulnerability of stepping across somebody else’s threshold has really been fuel for friendship.

This morning, as I waited in my room listening to the “get ready for school” activity, I thought what an honour it was to be there –to really feel ‘welcome’.