We have had rain all day, which was really nice because I’ve been working on the flowers for my son’s wedding all day – well after cleaning up from the New Year’s eve teen party with the help of the 3 remaining teens who spent the night. I’m making dry flower potpourri type centerpiece arrangements in raised bowls from flowers I have been growing and drying all year. My house will seem empty when all the bunches are removed! I’m also making the candles arrangements the bridesmaids will carry. The wedding has a Renaissance theme so we figured fresh flowers would not be available much in January. The bride will carry fresh daisies and ivy and the alter flowers will be fresh; the rest will be evergreen boughs, dry herbs, and dry flowers.

There were 20 or 30 kids here at one point last night. Teens have nowhere to go, nothing to do around here. At the mall, they are “loitering”; at the lake the temptation to do drugs and have sex is pretty overwhelming. Here they watch DVDs, they bring food to contribute and I always have food around too so they cook and eat and make hot chocolate, they make like “a pile of kittens, they play chicken, they wrestle - all for the excuse to touch, they make campfires and roast marshmellows, and they smoke (I don’t bother them about that I just give them a big ashtray and point them to our outdoor pine tree “office”). But here; they don't drink, they don't do drugs, they don't go overboard with their making out, they make an effort to clean up after themselves, they do the chores I ask of them when I think more cleaning up is in order. They mostly want to talk to each other, hang out together. They want to talk to the adults here too sometimes. They like it when my grown sons are here.

I have this wonderful spot in my back yard area where there is a gully and I sit at the bottom and most of the ambient light is shaded away at night. I can see the stars better (except for the last 3 nights the cloud cover has completely obscured all stars). I can hide and be alone and no one comes looking for me there so when the noise level is a bit too high or I am overloaded I go there to regroup.

I do get overloaded. I have firm ending times for parties. Firm "you don't have to sleep but you have to be silent and don't you dare open this door until morning time" for overnighters. I need total silence to read a map. Sometimes it has to be MY music in the car, or a book on tape or talk radio. Volume must be controlled. If I have a deadline looming I get near psychosis with anxiety. I try to make sure when I am crabby to tell them why, usually it is not them as the primary cause but they do cause secondary crabbiness. I acknowledge it is my problem but tell them how their behavior is making it worse. I say no to company plenty of times or limit it to kids I know I can tolerate with losing it if I am overloaded.

They are such good kids, all of them even though some do have their problem behaviors; in their hearts they are good. I have had very little real trouble with any of them, despite the many parties, concerts, get togethers, transportation runs I have done with them.

Most other parents are good, many call me before letting the kids come to a party to confirm there will be supervision and that the invitation is really coming from a parent not just a kid home alone. This is good. Many come in to visit and tell me something about their kid and leave a phone number. This is good too. But others seem to despise their kids, to be happy to be rid of them, or to not care at all. They don’t know what they are missing so I feel sort of sorry for them but mostly I just want to smack them.

I am not mad at the parents who can't take in the hordes like I can. I'm very lucky to be healthy, have a moderately roomy, casual (read chaotic) house and only need to work part time so I can be here (mentally and physically). I'm happy to provide the place the kids hang out at. I am mad at the parents who are so mean to their own children and put them down so much. I could tell you such horror stories. One of them came up last night, that's why it is still fresh on my mind.