Over the last several years, my life had become more and more intertwined with the teenagers who were my kids' friends, my friends' kids, and part of the youth group I was so blessed to be involved in. These kids brought a lot of laughter, late nights, soda and pizza, crazy games, loud music, and energy into my life - and joy beyond what I can describe. They loved you because you loved them. Their innocence was contagious - and their curiosity was infectious. Their whole lives were before them, and you couldn't help but want to share your mistakes with them, in the hopes that they would make better choices than you did. You want to protect them, and help them learn to be wise at the same time. I have missed them in a huge way over the last year. This afternoon, the kids in our neighborhood got out of school after half a day because they have "winter break" (who wouldda thought - when kids don't have a gazillion snow days, they actually get a week off in the winter!), and the familiar sound of music, teenage laughter and energy filled the house. I took the girls and two friends to dinner and the movies. It was great. I have missed them so much!
One thing I have especially missed was teen boys - geesh! Weird, huh? It was so nice having a teenage boy around - and a nice one - that says "ma'am" and "sir" and stuff like that! We tried to teach him how to say "xie xie" which is "thank you" in Chinese so he could say it to the waitress when we left the Chinese buffet after dinner. At first as he practiced, he was spitting it out rapidly, more like gunfire than manners, "shee shee" every time any of the wait staff walked by, in the enthusiastic way only a teenage boy can. I thought a more southern rendition - maybe "shee-ee, shee-ee y'all" would've been a little more appropo.
It was a great night! It helped fill in a lonely place in my heart.
(I still miss you guys though - Brenna, Tayva, Kameron, Devan, Kelly A., Justin, Dillon, Curtis, Jamey, Jon, Cody, Jessie, Rachel R., Sarah, David, Grace, Kayla, Colleen, Ryan, Laura, Kelly S., Mikaela, Angie, Martin, Hannah, Sarah, Rachel B., Amy, Lauren, Christiana, Mary, Paulie, Josh, Dawn, ....)