I love my children. I know you think I am talking about my children at the school. I do love them. I am talking, however, about the children I gave birth to and my nieces and nephews. My sisters and I often wonder how we could have been so blessed to have such great kids - when their parents are a little on the side of less than sane! We know we were not the most perfect parents - far from it - but our children have been surrounded by love. What I love the most about them is that they each have so much love to give and they do not hold back - they do not choose to love the lovable but often they love the people who think they are unloveable. David, my son, just wrote a blog about picking up a hitchiker when he was 20 years old (this is the first I heard of this...we will talk later! just kidding). How can I say anything about what my children do when I do the same thing. None of us take the safe and easy path. David's story - He learned a valuable lesson from a man hitchhiking and remembers the story 8 years later. David never meets a stranger - well if the person was a stranger, they won't be for long. He accepts people as they are and can find the good parts of every person. He never does anything to hurt anyone on purpose and his heart hurts if he does hurt someone else. This does not mean he does not have standards - to e David's friend you also have to find the good in you. He has the best sense of humor and can find it in every situation. He has married the most wonderful woman. She is a perfect match as David can go down some really wayward paths...Natasha has the sense to see when something is too wayward. Adventurous - they both are and have committed to go through this world together. It is cool to watch David - with his laid back self and Natasha and her motivated drive actually work it all out. They help each other. David would take blame and punishment for what someone else did during his school years when he knew the other child would be beat or could not handle what would happen. Sacrifice and thinking of others...how often do you find that?
Did I mention that all of our children are super intelligent? Yet, they each have the most fun personalities.
Amanda, my daughter, how to explain...well, I walk down any street in San Pedro and after she has only been here twice - not a day go by without several people asking me about Amanda - some people I do not even know. A story about Amanda - When she was young she said that she would never be a social worker like her mother...I think the job took too much time from her...and she knew it was hard on me. When she first moved to Memphis, I went to see her. The first morning I woke up in her apartment to noise just outside the window. I woke her up as I was conerned. She said, "oh mom, it is just the homeless guys - I leave them canned goods on the garbage can." Later that day as we went around midtown in Memphis, I found that she knew and spoke with all the homeless people in the area. Glad she didn't go into social work...right. She has befriended the hardest people to be friends with and even though she has been hurt over and over - she forgives and just loves. I think she has the most tenacity for continuing love without being loved back of anyone I know. Children love her - of course she still knows how to play and has the heart of a child. She is resilient too. did I mention she has a huge voice with a personality that cannot go unnoticed? You will know if Amanda is anywhere near. She can also tell the best stories with all the theatrics - she is our drama queen.
Ben, the youngest son, he is my wise one. He seems to have just been born with knowing right from wrong. He sees and sizes up people in less time than it takes to say hello. He knows good hearts from those meant to harm. When he was 6 years old I starting trying to date after being a year divorced. He told me he didn't like the guy because he had curly hair. He was respectful and polite but never did warm up to him. Of course, he was right. When the man started unraveling and showing his true self, Ben was there to witness - not dangerous or anything - just nuts. My dating adventures make for very funny stories - another blog another time - Ben and I see the world and people the same - we know now to trust each other and can communicate without words - just looks. It is hard for us to go shopping or out in public as we notice the same things and we can also find humor in the most everyday situations. Ben is quiet until he has something to say but he can also tell the best stories in the funniest ways. Ben used to go to class on the first day of the year and come home and say - "yep, got another teacher with issues" proved true - and the worst issue that Ben could not tolerate was when the poor kids or alienated kids were picked on by a teacher. He has been in trouble more than once for his not standing by and allowing this to happen. I was not concerned with this kind of trouble.
I think my kids have the best stories because they get out there and live life - take chances and they take the time to hear people's stories that other's by-pass. I am so proud of them.
I am also proud of my nieces and nephews. Holly, my niece, is the top of her class at Mississippi State and quite the comedian. I love the way Hollie just has always done her own thing without much fuss - she doesn't need or want recogniton - she watches and takes in and then when the time is right - she has the greatest interpetive story. She is a stand-up comedian and takes in all the craziness around her but still stays the most sane. We share the love of books.
Jess, Hollie's sister, knows what she wants in life. She wants to love, be loved, and have a family of her own. When Jess tells you she loves you - there is no fluff - she is always true to what she thinks and who she is and gives to others in a very kind and simple way - when I look at her I just see pureness and giving. She is pregnant with her first child. I can't wait have a new baby in the family. Jess is also a story teller. Another point about Jess - you never have to wonder what she is thinking - she lets you know - she is one of those people who will tell you for your own good what you need to hear even if it is hard to hear. She does not choose the easy path either and she can be a bit stubborn but I love it - gives her attitude!
Kully, my niece who shares my love for travel and taking on the most difficult situations. She is going to med school in the fall. she has spent months in Bolivia on a medical mission trip. This is her second time. She wants to help the poorest of the poor children. She has a heart a big as Texas. She feels the pain. She has had so many tragedies and losses in her life and still gravitates to working with the tragic. Calm, cool and collected as she methodically works through what ever comes her way, she is a woman of action. She has stories to tell and manages through laughter and balance in her life.
Josh, my only nephew, is probabably the funniest of all with the dryest and quickest humor. He is going to the Air Force Academy in Colorado. He want to serve his country. I am going to miss him as we can't have regular contact during these first months at school. Josh is an athlete, a scholar and a leader. He is a spirtual person and all people love Josh. He is most respectful of others and treats all with dignity and respect - here we go again - even those who other's might shun or make fun of - Josh is their champion. He also loves to read but don't tell anyone - messes with that macho image.
So can you see why I love them all? I guess I am having a hard time as I miss them all so much. The Easter break has begun. I saw the children of Holy Cross playing in the ocean and playing the games our children do not even know anymore - tag, hide and seek, hop skotch, and of course soccer. I love to watch them play. I saw a little girl last night with her dad. I knew the dad and he asked the little girl if she knew me - I had not worked with her at all - but she said, "that's miss kim at my holy cross school." I have several of you who have written to tell me the children's stories are touching your hearts. It is not just the ones with problems...there are many children with wonderful loving parents and they give so much love that just grabs me...I think that is why I was thinking about my own family and how we have given love that will be multiplied out with our children. It is not because we did much right except try and love a lot. The children who are loved will give love - that is the answer - I am sure it is that simple. The only way to work with the parents who can't love is to love them too,
love and miss you all.