Life was challenging. In my happy posts about smiling and joy, I don’t intend to only paint an image of a happy, non-worrying, non-stressed family. Benjamin was happy and a beautiful smiling little boy, so I like to think he enjoyed his time here and loved who he was, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t “bad days” or discomfort or worry.
The two sides can exist together. Happiness and worry. Joy and sadness. Laughter and tears. I, more than anyone, experience this and know this today.
I choose not to remember the bad times as much as I want to focus on the happier times. Having a kid like Benjamin is a lot of work. There were daily medications, special diets, appointments and therapies, wheelchairs, seizures, treatments, hospital visits … and concerns … that filled many of our days.
BUT … that didn’t stop us. I was determined not to be homebound simply because it would have been the easier option. I wanted the triplets to have fun experiences, to know our community, to go to parades, to swing on the playground, to put their feet in the sand, to play in the pool, to see the circus, to learn about animals at the zoo … and so much more.
I wanted to use our personal experiences as a family as inspiration for the Ben’s Adventures books.
So far, Ben has taken us to the beach. I grew up going to the ocean being from the east coast. Even though we’re in the Midwest, I wanted my kids to have those same experiences. And for a few years now, we have hauled them 1000 miles to Virginia and North Carolina to know the beauty of the sand, waves, breeze, sun.
Now, Ben is taking us to the circus. This was one of my husband’s favorite things to do with the kids – an annual tradition that started with his older son Alex, and one Rob wanted to continue with the triplets. Ben smiled, laughed and jumped around at the last Ringling circus we enjoyed. I think it was the combination of the sounds, the lights, the clowns … giving a bit of sensory overload!
While Ben’s vivid imagination takes us to the circus in this next book, it’s also a tribute to honor his teachers. My Benjamin had a phenomenal one year in preschool and this book is for his team that invested in him and believed in him. You can read more about it here.
My hope is these books will show that kids with disabilities can obviously still just be kids. They can play and dream. Life may be a bit more challenging but that doesn’t mean it can’t be ‘happy’ and experience-full. All Kids of all abilities are capable of friendships, love and laughter.