One recent day at the office, a few of us were discussing frustrations about raising teens. So when I later opened an email that'd been forwarded to more addresses than a USPS bulk rate list for kwik kash holiday loans, I laughed when I read "Mothers of teens now know why some animals eat their young." No matter the age of their children, every mother has one of those days.
Then God sent me a flip-side lesson at a dedication service. Several Thomson High School clubs worked to have a memorial bench commemorating students who have passed away during the last several years placed in front of the school. Listening to each speaker, I realized how blessed I am to still have my two teenagers alive and well at home. While it was sobering to hear the impact the lives of Amber Hinton, Chrystal Williams, Ciera Burnett, Steven Wilson and Cheryl Helmly had on others, it was also inspiring to hear how the students are keeping their memories alive, influencing others to live a better life.
And it must be working. A few seniors this year found a way to make their prom night a special memory for themselves and others by escorting students from the Special Ed class to the prom. Special Ed teacher Stacey Amerson said most only escorted their date to the grand march. But imagine the memory it created, dressing to the nines and basking in their 15 minutes of fame.
Another group of inspiring teens are those who participate in Mission:McDuffie. They spend one entire week cleaning up trash and yard debris, scraping, scrubbing and painting or digging and raking to help homeowners who can't do the work themselves. And they don't get paid. In fact, they have to pay to participate. I've visited several of the worksites in years past. They do a really good job, the kind their moms wish they'd do at home. At the same time, they have fun - the kind of fun that only happens in the teen years of life. Although it doesn't take place until summer, plans have started for this year's program and applications are being accepted.
Finally, my own special day as a mom came yesterday when I opened another email. But this time, it was sent only to me, from the "team mom," who we all know is the highest-ranked amongst her peers. Last week, my own son and his best friend went on their very first road trip alone to participate in a baseball tournament. I could not afford the hotel the rest of the team was staying in. So, practicing my faith, I sent them with reluctant blessings to stay unchaperoned in one a little farther down the road. The team mom wanted to let me know how proud I should be of the boys, who were always the first to arrive at the ball field with everything they needed. To top it off, they brought back unspent money. Now, I won't be looking through the mail for a kwik kash ad.