I have always been grateful for the many incredible friends that my kids have. I have been impressed with their level of respect and thoughtfulness and I genuinely love having them in my home. But my real love affair with “kids these days” started in September when I learned that Graci was nominated for Homecoming Queen. Graci is beautiful and bubbly and friendly, but she had not come out of her shell when it came to boys. We often joked that she would have to actually talk to a boy in order to get asked out on a date. (; When Graci found out she was a finalist, she was so ecstatic and adorable and happy about it except for one thing—she didn’t have a date. She had been told she needed to be at the dance the next evening in case she was crowned and wasn’t quite sure what to do. Well, I sent out a text to a couple of friends and one hour later, the nicest young man—one who hardly even knew Graci—was at our door with some pizzas in his hand.
If you are a parent, you may have an idea of what that did to my heart. Not only did was he a charming and handsome date, he showed up in this car to take her to the dance:
Graci was indeed crowned Homecoming Queen and had a wonderful, special night thanks to one of these “kids these days.”
In the days following Graci’s Homecoming date, Cali hinted several times about how much she wanted to be asked to her Bargain Ball. We have a rule in our family that you can’t date until you are 16, and Cali would have her birthday the day before Bargain Ball. Of course, my mama heart wanted so badly for her to be asked, but not only is Cali very soft spoken and shy, there is the fact that she is in a wheelchair. I was worried that boys might be a little intimidated by that fact and not really consider her because of it. I tried to tell her that a lot of times girls don’t get asked out right when they turn 16 and that it might take some time to get asked on a date. So a few days later when Jeremy and I, out on a date together, got a text from Parker with this picture, you might understand why we both started to cry:
One of the cutest and most popular guys at school had asked Cali to the dance. She was over the moon, but I’m pretty sure Jer and I were even more so. Hunter treated her like the princess that she is and she glowed that night!
Cali has continued to go on dates with such great guys. Here are photos of Winter Waltz with Bobby and Sweethearts with Nathan:
But perhaps my most favorite moment with “kids these days” came this evening. Conner turned 16 last July, but hasn’t been asked on a date. Because he is in ninth grade, most of his friends aren’t dating. It's difficult for him to ask girls out because most of the girls he is friends with are too young. It’s been a little hard on him, as he loves girls more than, well, anything! Well, tonight a sweet girl named Robyn showed up at our door and asked for Conner. I’ll just let the video tell the story.
After Robyn left tonight, Conner came in my room, gave me a hug and said, “Mom, I feel like I’m in a dream.” I thought I’d melt into a puddle right then and there.
All of my kids, regardless of their special needs and even because of them, are worthy of fun and laughter and friendship and parties and dates and love. I know that, and I think they know that. But I will admit that I was worried that other kids their age would not know that. I was worried that even though there are many kind hearted and outgoing and wonderful kids that they would be afraid of blindness and wheelchairs and broken English and missing arms and shyness.
Bryant, Hunter, Bobby, Nathan, Gable, Robyn—you prove wrong anyone that wants to categorize “kids these days” as self-centered and entitled. You are selfless and accepting and just all-around awesome. You see my kids for what they are-- amazing and incredible and courageous and worthy. Erin, Tanner, Marcus, Tannon, Aspen, Kaytlin, Lily, Anna, Kara, Sehdi, Cora, Payton, London, Claire, Carissa, and so many, many more in our community and around the world who accept and love and include everyone for who and what they are, I salute you. You have my gratitude. You have my admiration. You have my heart.