My oldest son starts school as a freshman in high school tomorrow morning and I will not be there to kiss him good bye before he gets on the school bus. We didn't get to go supply shopping together. I wasn't there for orientation or "meet the teacher". I wasn't there to cook our traditional back to school meal or pray over him before he went to sleep.
My oldest daughter is here, in Colombia, with me. She will miss her first days of school. Knowing that this might happen, she chose to stay with me and face the challenges of catching up in her classes whenever we get home.
For the last four weeks, Kind Hearted Warrior has been holding down the fort at home. He has been getting his little sister ready for school everyday...fixing her breakfast, packing her lunch, and walking her to the bus stop. He stays home most days and takes care of the house, inside and out, while his dad is at work. Faithfully, he has been there to get his little sister off the bus in the afternoons. Then they wait for daddy to get home from work. In my absence, he has sacrificed his summer to fill my shoes. He is just fourteen years old and he is shouldering the responsibility of an adult and shouldering it well.
While Kind Hearted Warrior has been at home doing his part to preserve the family, Fair Maiden has been here with me. At fifteen, she has laid her heart on the line for two little boys who, before being matched to our family, had no hope and no future. She has never hesitated to offer them love or guidance. She wakes up at the crack of dawn when they do and her day begins...playing, helping with meal prep, cleaning, laughing, consoling, and modeling the right behaviors. She has sacrificed her summer to live in a foreign country with her mom and new brothers...no friends, no parties, no modern conveniences, but when asked, she has no regrets and would do it all over again.
These are my teenagers, doing hard things. Selfless. Responsible. Committed. Caring. Helpful. Patient. Understanding. Dependable.
My teenagers understand about family and the fact that privilege comes with responsibility.
My teenagers do everything they do to bring glory to the One who made them.
Tonight, I think back...back to their birth days...back to their first days of kindergarten...back to all those precious memories I have of them, and I shed tears.
Why? Because I am so proud of them. So proud of the teenagers that they are.
My teenagers have integrity. They are good servants.
They have faith.
And they live their lives for something greater than themselves.