In Which We Find Our Eight Sons

Finding our boys

Some of our boys at the beginning of our ride.

“Hey, Mom!” he called from across campus.

I looked over to see who had called and noticed a fourth-grade boy waving at me. “Hey, Son!” I shouted back. “How’s your day going?”

He grinned, flashing his dimples, and shrugged. “Good.” He turned back to his buddies and I continued walking towards my classroom.

Eight sons. Pedro and I have eight ‘sons’ this school year. Our school (a Christian 1-12 boarding school for Native Americans) has a Faculty Family program. At the beginning of the school year the faculty choose 5-7 students to become their ‘family’ for the year—a way for us to connect with our students and help them out when they need encouragement, prayer, a trip to town or a homemade meal.

This year, Pedro did all of the choosing—and that’s ok. After living in a household of women for 26 years (we have two daughters and all of our pets have been females), he deserves to have some ‘sons’ to spend time with.

Our first official Faculty Family activity took place on Saturday afternoon—and we chose to take them mountain biking. I baked a cheesecake (at the request of one of our returning family members), fresh bread, made guacamole and put together everything we needed for a picnic supper after our ride.

During the ride to the trailhead, the four boys in my car chatted quietly with each other and listened to Casting Crowns and Toby Mac. After our ride and picnic, we piled back in the vehicles to head back. “It’s my turn to pick a CD, called one boy from the back seat.”

“Wait until mine finishes,” the boy in the front chided. “It wasn’t over yet.”

Excited conversation vied with Toby Mac lyrics pouring from the stereo, so I turned the volume down a little. They talked about the ride, how hard it had been and how many hills they had gone up without walking their bikes.

They giggled and laughed and passed gas and groaned. They even blamed the smell of a nearby pig farm on me—I denied it, of course, and made them roll down their window to prove that the smell got worse, not better; therefore, it couldn’t have been me.

I taught them the word ‘impunity’ and told them the next time we came this way, they could pass gas with impunity. Silly talk.

I overhead one boy talking with his mom on the phone and telling he loved her, and my heart melted. And my eyes filled with tears because I knew the boy sitting next to him had a mom who doesn’t want him and passes him off to relatives and acquaintances.

I hope our ‘sons’ find in me a ‘mom’ who loves them unconditionally, yet teaches them about healthy boundaries. I hope they find in me a mom who extravagantly bakes them cookies, ‘just because,’ yet models restraint because it’s a good lesson to learn. I hope they find in me the love of their heavenly Father—even when I’m in a grumpy mood.

I hope they find in me the love of their heavenly Father. #fmfparty Click To Tweet

It’s not a task I take lightly—but I’m privileged beyond measure.

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • Wonderful, Anita!

    Such an interesting school you work at; I love the concept of a “faculty family.” I feel like this would be a cool concept for colleges too!

    Boys are hilarious. Y’all will have so much fun. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing, I hope you continue to do so- I look forward to more family stories. 🙂
    Jordan recently posted…Find {Five Minute Friday}My Profile

    • I’m looking forward to a year of entertainment, that’s for sure! Who needs movies when you have a bunch of adolescent boys around ;).
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…In Which We Find Our Eight SonsMy Profile

  • I love this and what a beautiful way to extend the school community by extending your family. You are blessed to be called mom by so many and I can tell you love your 8 sons. I would love to hear more about this sometime. Great hanging with you tonight.
    Mary Geisen recently posted…Five Minute Friday ~ Finding My What’s NextMy Profile

  • Ahhh, life with boys. Yep, I’m in the opposite boat as your hubby. I have my husband and two boys. And the noises . . . and the smells . . . well, you just get used to them, right? I loved reading this story. The gift God has given to you of being a mother to these boys, what an influential place you hold in their lives. Even when you make mistakes, God will work through them, because your heart is yielded to Him. I applaud you for taking EIGHT boys bike riding. That’s a feat for any woman and her husband. 🙂
    Jeanne Takenaka recently posted…Find: Being FoundMy Profile

    • They are such good boys! It was so awesome to see them encourage each other, watch out for each other and keep an eye on Pedro (his first ride post trauma room and surgery). I am blessed!
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…The Shocking Truth About My Neck and CalvesMy Profile

  • Tara

    So cool!! May you all be blessed by these relationships.

  • What a wonderful concept – and what a lucky group, to have you as their Mom!
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 47 – And Not To YieldMy Profile

    • I’m enjoying my family, for sure! They bless me in so many ways.

  • Every time I visit your blog, I leave in awe of your work with these boys/this project. You are such an inspiration. (Thank you!)…your FMF friend, Helen

    • I love my ‘kids’ ;). I also love knowing that God has me where he wants me (even though I sometimes think I really want to be doing something else).
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…In Which We Find Our Eight SonsMy Profile

  • Anita- what an amazing program! Those boys are so blessed to have you as their “mom” – and what a fun picture you painted with your words about the car ride – boys are all the same… 🙂 Thanks for answering God’s call on your life. I’m inspired by how you use your many, many gifts. I definitely see the love of God in you, and I’m sure your sons do, too. Happy Friday, friend! 🙂
    karen brown recently posted…FindMy Profile

    • The blessings definitely flow both ways. Who knows why were blessed with two daughters and no sons–but God is abundant in his gift of allowing us to mentor both boys and girls beyond our ‘parenting years.’
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…A Prayer for HereMy Profile

  • Anita, this made me think of my mom. She was in youth ministry for many years and often called the boys, “son”. She probably couldn’t remember their names at the time or couldn’t keep up with all the names and that was a respectful way she had. Now my husband and I share in a ministry to men in a residential program and while these men are all of adult age, a few even older than me 😉 some call themselves our sons. It’s amazing what words can mean and how a little word can find the best in others. God bless you and Pedro and the team as you minister to the sons and daughters God brings your way.
    Debby recently posted…A change of viewMy Profile

    • Thank you for your kind words, Debby! It’s the fun, giggly moments like these that make the hard moments easier–the shared good times to carry us through the bad times!
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Ten Tips for Overcoming DiscouragementMy Profile

  • This is beautiful, Anita! I love the idea of Faculty Family, especially that you’re able to keep some of the same students from year to year. What a blessing to spend time with a group so that they’ll have more positive adult influence, but also so they can build closer friendships among themselves.
    Melissa recently posted…Finding a New Me (Five Minute Friday)My Profile

    • I love it, too :)! It’s one of my favorite things about boarding schools in the system I work in. So often teenagers need non-parent mentors who are safe and willing to get involved. I’m forever grateful that my daughters had that whilst they were going through their teen years.
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…When You Hit a Roadblock, Praise the Lord!My Profile

  • What a sweet story, Anita! I felt like I was right there in that car with all those boys and their gassy smells and laughter. What a grace filled mama you are. God bless you! I had one boy and three girls. And a girl pug. But that one boy taught me a lot of lessons!!! 🙂
    Number 52 slot this week!
    Ruthie Gray recently posted…What I found in the family photo drawerMy Profile

    • Boys are definitely a different ball of wax, aren’t they?! Our eldest daughter ended up marrying one of our ‘sons’ from a faculty family we had at a different school about ten years ago ;)–so now we have a son that we’ve known since he was 14!
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…In Which We Find Our Eight SonsMy Profile

  • I am so very certain they will, Anita.
    Susan Shipe recently posted…five minute friday: findMy Profile

  • I also hope mine find in me a mom too.
    Touching story Anita.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
    God bless
    Ifeoma Samuel recently posted…Are you a Happy Mom?My Profile

  • You are amazing… eight son’s … that takes a lot of energy, effort and shall I say more energy?
    good thoughts today.
    Sharon O recently posted…Friday’s word promptMy Profile

  • Anita, I know that you will love these boys wisely and well. I pray that you will all grow near to one another. What a beautiful idea to have a Faculty family. Such a great way to create community. Such an interesting spin on Find. Loved it. Love you.