We've got company arriving! It seems that we pick up teenagers.... which is odd, since I m slightly nervous around the things! :)
We've had my husband's niece who at that time was the ONLY grandchild and slightly spoiled. Yet, the love she felt and saw had her in tears often. Her parents were going through a divorce because of abuse, and our home was a shelter for a summer.
Then we had a friend's son who stayed with us while I was 8 months pregnant with my first baby. He was a pretty good kid. His only vice was knowing how to quietly slip away from housework without telling anyone. The most memorable incident with him was following a hiking trip. Sometime in the middle of the night, the poor kid (who was NOT used to hiking OR all the junk food my husband had fed him) threw up. Yeah, well... there was NO place to throw up where he was sleeping, so he did the pest he could, but IT got plastered up and down a wall and floor. The kid was tall, so it was pretty high up, too. Then, to make things worse, he walked into our room in the middle of the night, without knocking. To give him credit, he walked in sort of like a lost little kid whimpering for his mom, but I was young, newly married, and not used to tall boys walking in my room in the middle of the night!! He scared me! But then, we discovered what was wrong, and I took full advantage of being pregnant and sent my husband to clean up the mess! He's turned into a fine man who likely has cleaned up his own kid's messes, too, and we have plans to reciprocate and send him one of our teenagers at some point. :)
We've had one girl whose parents dropped her on us because she was recovering from a mental breakdown and they didn't know what to do.... would have been stressful enough except that she arrived two days after I gave birth to my third child which was a complicated birth resulting in some injuries to me.... and the fact that my grandpa was dying, so when the baby was only two weeks old, we packed up and drove three days to say goodbye to him.... and by the fact that we had already agreed to another teenager staying that summer...
That teen, the one without the mental problems, was a delight - fun to have, helpful, enthusiastic, patient with the mentally unstable one, and just fun. (I have to say good things about her - she is my friends' daughter! No really, she was great. ) And unlike her brother, she did not throw up at all!
Then came a boy - my husband's young cousin. Ah, he was an interesting one! His parents had decided to do a social experiment and see what happened if you raised a child and never told him no. Well... imagine his shock at our house when he found that word was a part of our vocabulary and well as a four letter one: W-O-R-K! Poor kid! But he learned a lot, and we sent him to a Christian camp... where they also used that two letter unfamiliar word.... and where he occupied the entire time of one counselor, but was favorably impressed by "those religious wierdos".
Then there was the very young teen who flew out to "over there" to stay with us only to find out that a member of our family had contracted TB. To our amazement, her parents still let her come. She endured a lot, usually with a cheerful attitude, including sharing a room with two young (6 and 4) boys because air-conditioners are in short supply and we have to share in the summer. She adjusted, even to the point that late one evening, she said, "Hey, it is really pretty cool tonight" only to look at the thermometer and find out it was well over 100 degrees still!
Then we had the younger sister of the one who had had mental problems. She was pretty fun to have around, and pretty adaptable. We were on deputation, so appreciated the extra hand with the kids, and she got to see the US. The funny thing with her was that it was the year that Hurricane Katrina came through the Gulf, and when her parents heard we were driving across the US (the NORTHERN half), they panicked. Being from Europe, they had NO idea about America, and were worried that she might get caught in bad weather and drown. When we finally reached the other side, she phoned her parents and told them she was safe, and then we giggled to hear her say, "Mom, you have absolutely no idea how hugely big this country is!! And mostly empty!!"
I think I am missing a few we've had for shorter periods, but those are the memorable ones.
This summer, we are getting another young cousin of my husband's. Thankfully, this one was not raised as a social experiment, but as a responsible person in society. She should be a delight. We've known her for years, and she has been wonderful. My prayer for her this year would be the same as it was for the other cousin - that what we believe would make an impression on her. Thankfully, we are now in a team of people from her country that will welcome her and share their homes and meals and hearts with her. Pray that her heart would be open.
So I am cleaning house. Needing to move two boys in to a room together and clean a room out for her. She's sleeping in the middle son's room which resembles a natural history museum, so let's pray she's not freaked out by insects and bird's nests! Before I moved him out, I needed to clean out the first son's room which looks like a mad scientist's room. He forbid any insects moving in with him, so let's see how long this lasts. If only they would go into genetic engineering, they could work together!
Here we go - another teenager.... pray for patience for me. I grew to love them all, but I also struggle with the loss of my "alone time" which is difficult for me.