teenagers who amaze me in a maze of relationships

I walked into my daughter’s room today, with a pile of folded laundry, and for the first time in months, stopped to look around. Amongst the typical piles of disheveled bedding, hair products and leftover Social Studies class notes, there was a smattering of personality, and I paused in my busy day to stop and admire it.

Pictures of children she had seen while on a mission trip to Guatemala two years ago, a pretty ceramic frame entitled “Sisters” that displayed a photo of her and her younger sister, and torn-off paper pasted here and there, on which were written personal messages to encourage herself to continue her life in a meaningful direction.

I moved to another bedroom, where absolutely amazing art (and I’m not exaggerating!!) was displayed from portfolios, scrapbooks and sketchpads from my other daughter.

Another girl’s music score of a recent drama audition, and her baskets of fashion sewing projects still in process, while others hung for tomorrow’s run-way ready ensemble. On to the next room, and another teen, where a world map displayed tacks of where she had traveled, surrounded by posters and iconic pictures demonstrating the need for free trade around the world.

Our son’s room contained stacks of books, while he works on a paper covering world issues in the 12th century.

Our other son … piles of books about cats and space ships and Sponge Bob Squarepants.

And our other daughter, whom we are so happy to welcome to our home full time as of this summer, her music books scattered on the piano … a gift to me from my parents when I was nine.

Let me save you from breaking your brain over how many children we have: we have a blended family of seven children. Ranging in age from 9-19, these amazing young people continue to impress me year after year.

Being a child with divorced parents is difficult, adding the complexities of blended family is heroic. These kids have handled the stormy weathers of divorce, remarriage, sibling relationships and leap-frog accommodations with excellence. And I am so proud of them.

They are, each in their individual way, passionate, value-driven, thoughtful, responsible young people, who are moving in the direction of sound citizenship and social justice. They will generate change in this world, for the better.

And I will always be, as I always have been, grateful for having the opportunity to be an influence in their lives.

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