In the last couple of weeks I have been awarded the highest honor ever bestowed upon me. (Please pardon my messy desk.)
My youngest daughter’s friends are at our house a lot, and I frequently drive carpool to various places, so I’ve gotten to know them pretty well.
Last week we had a big party for my daughter’s birthday, and about 23 of her best friends were in attendance. At some point, they always use my computer to get on facebook. One of the girls stuck a note on my monitor that said “Emily loves Mrs. Beth,” and “your Ro-Tel dip is yum yum!” then another friend followed suit with “Austin loves Mrs. Beth,” with a heart. The girls spent the night, and when I came downstairs the next morning to check my email, they had placed colorful sticky notes all over the front of my monitor, all with their names, declaring their love for me.
I haven’t really done anything spectacular for these kids; I make them welcome in my home, cook for them, drive them around and just hang with them and talk and listen. It isn’t work; they are great kids and so much fun to have around. But I don’t think it takes that much to make them feel loved, valued and cared for — listening to the things that bug them, letting them vent when they need to, encouraging and accepting them as they are.
Yes, teenagers can be difficult at times. But it is this tangible encouragement that keeps me going and I cannot help but smile when I sit down at my computer and look at my notes.
And the Ro-Tel dip: simple and cheap. Just throw two cans of Ro-Tel tomatoes and two pounds of Velveeta into a crock pot, turn it on and watch the feeding frenzy in an hour or so.