My husband, Yancey, and I have managed to get quite the following of young people in our lives. Some are school mates of our children, some just friends, some potential mates, some have lost parents, and some just need a safe place to hang out. We accept them all in without any stipulations except you will respect everyone in the house. These are the kids that we love as our own. We would move heaven and earth to help any one of them. Some come and go but we have a few that are basic staples in the house every evening for supper. Let me tell you about them and you can see for yourself how special these kids are to us.
The first one I will tell you about is DeRon. When I first met him I was terrified. He is a giant black man that has had a bit of trouble in his life. I woke up one Saturday morning to him hovering beside the bed poking me gently, “Manda? Manda, you ok? Yancey sent me over here to check on you.” I just about landed on the ceiling fan. My phone was out and Yancey was worried so he sent DeRon to check on me. It’s so good to know he is willing to make sure we are safe and taken care of in Yancey’s absence.
He and Emily went to school together and spent much of their childhood and teen years as best friends. He was all sports and she was in the goth stage but they made a friendship work. I would not trade this young man for a million dollars and a pet pony. I get to see him every evening for supper and lots of laughter. His cries of, “Seriously, Manda?!” never fail to get me laughing. There is a picture of him and Yancey the night of the wedding where they both walked in with boots and gray shorts on. They are quite the pair. I can count on both of them to be there for me at any time, day or night.
Another staple in our house is Eddie. The first time I met him I completely freaked out because I thought he was his twin. He and his brother are insanely identical down to their reddish blond beard lengths and hair cuts, even the type of clothes they wear are similar. I didn’t know there were two of them, you see. He walked in with one of the girls while I was sitting on the couch with Yancey. My purpose being there with Yancey was not the purest and I didn’t really want that to be public knowledge at that time since I had been through a terrible break up.
He now comes to the house nightly for supper and to fight with Emily over who has the best seasoning skills. I told him last night that he definitely needs to go to chef school because he has a knack for cooking and making the food not only delicious but beautiful as well.
Eddie also has little Derek, his nephew, in tow most evenings. He is five and is like a little shadow to Bam. They have adventures that involve me having to speak to the nice police officer on occasion… It is unacceptable to jump up out of a ditch and throw dirt and bits of wood at moving vehicles… I don’t play the “boys will be boys” mantra so many parents do. Respect is being learned and they are becoming quite the good boys. *Insert maniacal laughter.*
Jaycee is another of our regulars. She is friends with Maria and Dakota. I can just be doodling around the house and here she comes like a little ninja girl. She slips in and out and never creates a disturbance.
Now we come to Aisling… She is NOT Bam’s girlfriend. They are just FRIENDS. Don’t even breath the words around them or they both flip out. This child is about 12 years old and I swear I could just let her go in the kitchen and she would put out a 7 course meal for us. Her pork chops are worth spending some time in jail over. Bam may need to rethink the “not my girlfriend” thing because I’m pretty sure she needs to be my daughter in law some day.
Brynden is the ideal All American Kid, blond, tall, and scared of me. He is also my compliment-er. Every afternoon when I get home from work he compliments me. I can look like a bag of wet newspapers and he will still tell me I’m beautiful. Yes, I know he is sucking up but that is okay. He is a good boy and always respectful and helpful.
Devin is our Johnny come lately. He is a tall thin black man that works so so hard. I’m really proud of this young man. He is insanely respectful and has just fallen in with us as part of the family. Every day the first thing he asks me is how my day went and, bless him, he really does want to know.
We have a few others that kind of come and go but each one of them know that we love them, they get fed, and a hug before we go to bed or they leave. I’m sure you will get some stories with others in it and at that time I will make sure to introduce them to you. So for now, I’ll tell you like I tell every one of them, “I love you and if you need me just holler.”
Note: The picture above left to right is DeRon, Eddie, Devin and Brynden playing Call of Duty and being very good boys.