The deepest need in the human heart is for intimacy and one of the primary ways that need is met is through friendship. Over the past several months, we have observed what it’s like for Ben to not be attending school, participating in sports, joining in the fun of birthday parties, and playing with kids in the neighborhood. Simple but significant moments in our human development have faded from Ben’s life. Moments like greeting his friends and teachers at school, running out onto the playground with his buddies to climb the tree, socializing with friends during lunch, passing a soccer ball with a teammate, biking or scooting around the neighborhood and shooting hoops in the driveway. We have done our best to fill this deep void and are so grateful to acknowledge the friends who have come along side us to help through their own love for Ben.
Proverbs 27:9 reminds us that “a sweet friendship refreshes the soul” and our dear Ben’s soul has been and continues to be refreshed by his friends. These are the times when Ben is happiest—when he is with his friends. These friends are able to hang with Ben at his new speed. They follow Ben’s lead. They listen, share, jump on the trampoline, climb the pole up to the fort, play hide and seek, make believe adventures around the neighborhood, join on the quads, and shoot guns. Here are some of the friends actively refreshing Ben’s soul:
Ramsey, a 7th grader at Swope was our next-door neighbor for three years until his family moved last fall. Ramsey walks from Swope to our house one afternoon a week to spend time with Ben from 2:30 to 5:00. They hang out, look for bad guys, conspire in the fort and jump on the trampoline.
Haley, an 8th grader at Billinghurst, comes over from 2:00-5:00 on Wednesdays to talk about anything. Ben likes to ask her about the ins and outs of being a teenager, her friends and about her Dad who is a detective.
Eric Homze, an angel masquerading as a dentist and who is more playful than most children has come over six weekends in a row to hang out with Ben. They master tricks on the trampoline (ten foot double bounces!), talk about everything, share Guardetto’s on the fort deck, drive for wheatgrass shots at Jus, and scare me when I come home and they are hiding.
Nalu, a long-time friend and classmate of Ben’s is a peaceful, loving and loyal friend. With his mom’s permission, Nalu has left school early for several playdates and a midweek sleepover. His easy-going nature is a perfect fit for Ben. Ben willingly holds Nalu’s hand for guidance on adventures in the neighborhood and beyond.
Noah, a long-time friend and classmate, gently guides Ben around his home and pool. Noah understands the nuances of listening to Ben and the art of playing rough- Noah lets Ben wrestle him down and pound him to the ground. Noah also taught Ben to ride a hover board- you should see him go! Noah quadded and camped on Peavine with us on a school night!
Nate, Ben’s first true buddy from school—first friend to sleep over and first friend to really participate in the rhythm of life in our home has been tender hearted throughout Ben’s transitioning life- checking on Ben with voicemails. They’ve shared lunch at school and Nate came home with us early on his eighth birthday for some fun and a celebration.
Louden and Lander are friends from birth who moved away four years ago. They drove twelve hours to visit Ben and spend the week with him. These boys are amazing! They go with the flow, gently let Ben direct the play but also provide the youthful energy that allows Ben to feel normal. Ben was amazing with these guys, he stayed up past his bed time and even watched (listened) to two movies with them—something he has not wanted to do for six months!
Gregor, a.k.a. “funny guy”, has been teaching Ben about guns—taking him shooting, teaching him the protocols and how to find safe areas to practice.
AJ, a 7th grader at Swope is one of Ben’s mentors on the basketball court and on the bicycle. AJ is so busy but found time to come hang with Ben which meant so much to him.
Doug and Dax, the father son duo who shared their love of quadding and guns, showed our family new way to experience the outdoors. Another duo, Tye and Ever, loaned us their quads and have allowed us to enjoy countless hours in the hills above Reno feeling the warm sunshine and wind in our faces.
Truth be told, we find that limiting our own time on this site is good for us…the photographs elicit so much sadness. Please though, keep posting them. We treasure these moments. The posts are encouraging and we feel all of your love when we read through them. Thank you! We feel so much gratitude from the overflowing financial support and want everyone to know that it is enhancing our time with Ben immensely. Like never before, we find the most joy living in the moment and focusing on our family. Thank you for the many ways you all are expressing your love and friendship towards us.
Matt and Katie