“How many kids do you have now?” The age old question people ask each other when they haven’t seen you for a while or when you first meet.Brock, Justin, Xavier, Raquel, Michelle, Stacey, Andrew, Lauren, Jacque, Emily, Tyler, Alex, Kyle, Jessica, Adonis, and Allison. Sixteen if you count our dog Bella.
“Fifteen.” I reply with calm assurance and a polite smile while waiting for the initial shock to pass and reality to kick in.
“Surely, they can’t all be your kids?”
“Yes, yes they are.”
Their nicknames are Broccoli, Hulk, Scoop, Quel and Shelly (they are my “Twinkies”), Stace, Cuban, Laaaaren, My Girl, Emmie, Ty, Lazy and Newb. The other three have not been to camp yet and therefore have not been labeled.
I am constantly amazed at the level of “abuse” these kids receive at our hands, and yet, they consistently come back for more. We make fun of them, call them names, bop them on the head, and occasionally they even sustain injury; such as the black eye Emmie received after a wayward box of candy hit her. They’re rowdy, loud, weird, forgetful, always hungry, and sometimes smell bad. We have inside jokes (5th place ribbon) and stories that make us laugh until we cry every time we hear them.
Nothing warms this “Mommy” heart more than to see and be apart of the growth and excitement my kids experience. Joyfully serving the Lord, giving testimony of touched hearts and reaching out to bring others into the “family.”
I am by no means an expert on teenagers, as a matter of fact, every time I think I’ve got it figured out, they change on me! I raise my kids, and just when we’re starting to really get to know each other and bond, they graduate and leave for college and I am left with a whole new youth group.
“Oh wait, did I forget to mention, I’m a Youth-Mommy.”