Meet Ben, ER Nurse and Father of Three
Pictured above: Ben and Kevin
By: Liz Young
Tell us about yourself!
I grew up on a small farm in Bluffton, Ohio and still enjoy farm living. I’ve been a nurse for eight years, and I currently work in the Emergency Room in Troy, OH. I enjoy the ER’s fast pace and unpredictability. My wife, Beth, and I have been married for 13 years. We have very opposite skill sets, which has allowed us to deal with the challenges of our family. I know I wouldn’t be successful as a father or a professional without her strength and devotion to our family.
Now, tell us about your children.
We have three boys. Landon is nine and a great oldest child. He is incredibly responsible for his age and cares greatly for his brothers. He enjoys video games, playing sports, and Cub Scouts. Landon can regurgitate facts from books he’s read and is always ready to try out new experiments. Bryce is four and everything you’d expect of a youngest boy. Already, he excels at diffusing stressful situations, and he’s a constant surprise due to his antics and quick wit. Bryce’s favorite activities are playing outside, discovering new animals, taking care of his pets, and making people laugh. Kevin is eight and was diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis when he was two months old. He had many seizures early on, which forced brain surgeons to remove the right half of his brain. Kevin has endured five major surgeries and innumerable procedures and lab tests. His enlarged kidneys make it hard for him to eat, so he gets continuously fed through a tube during the day. Despite this, Kevin has learned to walk, communicate, play, tease, laugh, and enjoy his family. He attends Marimor School, and he doesn’t go a day without listening to music or playing something Sesame Street.
How do your sons interact and get along?
My boys, like typical brothers, are best friends one minute and mortal enemies the next. The first thing Kevin asks for in the morning is to see Bryce and Landon. When he finds them, he won’t leave them alone until they say “Hi. How are you? Are you doing good?” Landon and Bryce are a huge help in daily life and they really do relate to Kevin in a wonderful and unique way.
Is it challenging to balance the differences of each child? How do you handle that?
Our day-to-day life is very challenging. Kevin has a lot of behavior difficulties, which causes us to separate the boys at times. Fortunately, Landon and Bryce rely on each other for entertainment and get along really well. It has been a struggle; Kevin can monopolize so much of our time with behavior issues and medical needs. We attempt to manage this by dividing our parenting time. When able, one of us will take Landon and Bryce to work or play outside, while the other manages Kevin’s needs.
What is your greatest hope for your children?
I just want my kids to be excited about their lives and choices, and able to look back at their childhood and think “I’d do that again.”
What has been your greatest lesson in parenthood?
It’s a balance between patience and learning. It’s more fun to watch your kids put Mentos in Diet Pepsi than it is to do it yourself.
In your day-to-day life, what is the greatest challenge?
Our biggest daily challenge is to make all of our boys feel loved and important.
As a dad, what are you most proud of?
I am proud we are raising three boys to chase what excites them.
What are you most afraid of?
My biggest fear is not knowing what Kevin wants for his life. We have tried to stay focused on maximizing his quality of life. I hope we are achieving that.
What do you want people to know about you, your family, or developmental disabilities?
I think people should know that individuals with disabilities can teach us many things about what really matters in life.