Raising other people’s kids

My kids are all grown up and living their big city lives. Yes, they come home to visit once in a while, but they’ve got jobs (one’s even got a wife), and they’re busy. No, we don’t have grandchildren yet. Honestly, with only one married, I’m in no hurry. We’re in that in between stage, what I like to call the sweet spot.


We’ve raised our kids (for better or worse) and they don’t take advice or opinions often, and they don’t appreciate us worrying about them. “Oh Mom, you worry too much.” We’ve no grandkids to spoil, or worry over either. What’s can we do with all of our hard earned wisdom and knowledge? Not to mention, we’ve got all this time to sit and worry—who can we worry about? Why other people’s kids, of course!


We offer our sage knowledge to our teenage nephews, who smile and nod. We pray over them and ask that they make good choices. They come to visit and fill our days with joy. John delights in taking them deer hunting, and we play dominos well into the night. They eat more junk food than they should, and it’s okay. When they’re not visiting, we worry about them, and pray they study hard and make good friends. They’ve filled some holes in our life since our kids left home. But we’ve decided to go beyond that.


My friend and fellow author Savannah, along with her husband, are raising six kids. One child is theirs by birth, and they’ve adopted the other five through the Texas foster care system. Savannah and Jordan live on faith, prayer, love, and caffeine.


Many of you know by experience, and the rest of us can make an educated guess: vacations for eight people is outside the average budget. Enter John and Jann Franklin, and their love of hosting. Well, John’s love of hosting. I pushed back my introverted tendencies and after a good three weeks of coaxing/harassing, Jordan and Savannah agreed to transport their brood across state lines into the land of moon pies and Crawtators. We promised pine trees, a stocked pond, a visit to a pre-Civil War cemetery, acres and acres of land, cattle, hogs, and stars too many to count. Let’s not forget the small town hospitality of Grand Cane, Louisiana, and our delightfully caffeinated coffee shop.


A few weeks ago my friends came to visit our beautiful small town. They vacationed at the Hotel Franklin in our ranch house off Firetower Road. They even scheduled their visit during our annual car show, much to Jordan’s excitement. Those city kids (big and small) fell in love with the country life and all that it offers. Savannah took a boatload of pictures, and Jordan sat back and watched his children get dirty and have the time of their lives.


We hope our friends will return soon, and we’re looking forward to watching the kids grow up and find their way in the world. Don’t get me wrong—raising my children was the greatest joy I could ever imagine. But helping friends with their kids brings a special happiness to my heart. If any of you need help raising your kids, give me a shout. You’re always welcome at the Hotel Franklin.


Jann Goar Franklin graduated Russellville High School in 1985 and lives in Grand Cane, Louisiana. She also writes books, which are for sale at www.jannfranklin.com. You can reach her at jann@jannfranklin.com