Another school year began yesterday (on a Friday), and our miracle boy is now in a different school. Ben is now in grade six which, along with grades seven and eight, comprise what in my day was called junior high school but now is middle school.
His school day will be longer with fewer breaks during the day, and although one of his parents will be able to take him to school in the mornings, he will be riding the school bus home in the afternoons.
Ben wants to learn to play a musical instrument, and this year he will be able to learn at school and to play in the school band. He also will be able to further his interest in science by studying robotics.
Best wishes, Ben, for a great school year!
As always, many thanks to everyone who has kept Ben in your thoughts and prayers.
Our miracle boy turned 11 last week and had an outdoor party last Saturday, attended by family, friends and neighbors. I was able to drive the two and a half hours to be there for the entire weekend, but taking photos took a back seat to enjoying the day. I took a grand total of two good photos.
Ben loves the Atlanta Braves baseball team, and his party carried the Braves theme through even to the large chocolate chip cookie cake…
Ben (the tall one on the left) and his best friend J. were clowning around so much it was difficult to capture them both, but I did my best. The family is so grateful for the friendship between these young men. The night before the party, they built a tent in the family room, using dining room chairs and bed sheets, and they slept all night in sleeping bags on the floor under their indoor tent. Such fun!
Brave Ben, our miracle boy, is celebrating his 10th birthday today. His grandfather and I were unable to be with him this year, but we hope he has had a wonderful day. It has been almost 6 years since his life-saving brain surgeries, and we thank God every day for this precious young man.
Even though we were not able to help him celebrate, we’ve enjoyed the photos his mother took this morning…
Here’s what his mom wrote about him today…
Happy 10th birthday to my miracle boy! You have a heart of gold, the size of Texas. You’re spunky and silly, and 💯 percent all boy! I’m over the moon proud of you and the young man you are becoming. The last 10 years have flown by and I’ve watched you grow in so many ways. You are brave, strong, fiercely patriotic, and love the Lord, not to mention almost looking me in the eyes now!! I love you to the moon and back Ben, and no matter how tall you grow, you will always be my little boy!
As always, many thanks to everyone who has kept Ben in your thoughts and prayers over the past six years.
I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted an update about grandson Ben. He’s doing great! He played soccer in the Fall and now is playing basketball. He’s enjoying school and church activities. And it will be three more years before he has to return to New York to be checked out by Dr. B., his pediatric cerebrovascular specialist!
Speaking of school, today was the 100th day of school for this school year, and it has become something of a custom here for schoolkids to dress up as 100-year-old adults. Here’s Ben as a 100-year-old man with an aching back!
As you can see, Ben recently had his hair cut and is no longer wearing it long. His mom took before and after photos when he first got it cut.
We can hardly believe our miracle boy is over half-way through 4th grade. As always, many thanks to everyone who has kept Ben in your thoughts and prayers over the past five years.
Another summer has flown past. Ben had a number of adventures, brought home a new puppy, and now is back to school.
While on vacation with his dad’s family at the beach, Ben was able to take an exciting side trip to see the Blue Angels, sit with his mom and dad on the flight line during their practice, and meet the pilots.
The second oldest formal aerobatic team in the world, the Blue Angels is the U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration squadron. They participate in over 60 air shows a year and are viewed by an estimated 11 million spectators. Ben was able to watch them and visit with the pilots at their home base in Pensacola, Florida.
A new puppy has joined the family, a French bulldog named Bella. Ben picked her out soon after she was born and chose her name, although he had to wait for several weeks until she was old enough to for him to take her home.
The new school year began on Thursday. (I still think that’s crazy, but no one asked me!) Ben, who is now 9 years old, is beginning grade 4. He is almost as tall as his grandmother (that’s me), and he is already wearing men’s size shoes. On his first day in grade 4, he posed for photos with his mom and dad.
We can hardly believe our miracle boy is beginning 4th grade. As always, many thanks to everyone who has kept Ben in your thoughts and prayers over the past five years.
Ben wrapped up the school year with an award for academic achievement and the wonderful accolade noted in the title of this blog post. He also was chosen to represent all students in Grade 3 in making a special presentation to the school principal who is retiring now that the school year is over. Needless to say we are very proud of him.
A few other photos from his special day, including one with his teacher…
Waiting to receive his honors…
Recognition and a hug from the school principal (he’s as tall as she is!)…
And celebrating the end of the school year with his mom and with his friend B. who he has known since preschool…
As always, many thanks to all who have kept Ben in your thoughts and prayers since his surgeries five years ago.
“Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.” (Nelson Mandela)
And boom! Just like that our miracle boy has turned 9, has just completed his first state-mandated round of end-of-grade standardized testing in school, and by the end of this week will have completed grade 3. But the most important milestone marks 5 years since his diagnosis and surgeries.
When he was only 3 years old, grandson Ben was diagnosed with dural arteriovenous fistula, a rare vascular malformation in the brain. Just after his 4th birthday he underwent two back-to-back brain surgeries to repair the fistula, and the following year was again in a life-threatening condition that required a third surgery. We view the medical care he received and his recovery as nothing short of miraculous.
He has become quite a young man: very bright and excelling academically, a baseball/soccer/basketball/ playing – rock climbing sportsman, a wonderful son to his parents, grandson to us and his paternal grandparents, and cousin to his multitude of cousins. But most of all he is a kind, compassionate, loving person. We couldn’t be prouder.
Sporting new eyeglasses, grandson Ben began a new school year yesterday in Grade 3. It’s unbelievable that our little miracle boy who underwent three brain surgeries at ages 4 and 5 is now in the third grade at school.
(Note to my international readers: Here in the U.S., local school districts decide when their school year will begin and end. In most places, school starts anytime from early August to early September and ends in late May or early June, although there can be deviations even from that schedule. Here in the state of Georgia, most schools start in August. And as you can see from Ben’s attire, most schools do not have school uniforms.)
Ben had a busy summer, spending time at the beach with cousins and his dad’s parents, attending a week-long summer camp in the mountains, going on a mission trip with young people from his church, and in his “off-time” attending a summer day camp while his mom and dad were at work. He’s a happy guy who makes friends easily, and he seemed to enjoy every minute of his summer holidays.
We wish Ben much success in school this year, and once again, we thank everyone who has followed his story and kept him in your thoughts and prayers.
Ben and his dad
Ben and his mom, our daughter
Please join our family in sending out healing thoughts and prayers for another little boy, named Levi, who currently is in the hospital suffering from the same problem Ben had, arteriovenous malformation in the brain. Levi, who turns 10 years old next week, unfortunately had no symptoms and was not diagnosed until he experienced a severe brain bleed about 30 days ago. His condition was touch-and-go at first, but he is now on the road to recovery, although the prognosis is uncertain.
Ben celebrated his eighth birthday on May 12 with an outdoor party attended by friends, neighbors and family members. Exactly one week later was the fourth anniversary of his first brain surgery. Our miracle boy has come a long way in four years…
Ben is a kind, smart, loving, musically talented little guy who loves to play sports. He is active in his church, volunteers to help others, and works hard to complete whatever task is at hand. Tomorrow he will finish up this school year, having completed second grade with flying colors. We couldn’t be prouder of our miracle boy!
During the school year, basketball and baseball were his sports of choice , and no matter what sport he plays he always wears number 32 on his team shirt.
In April, Ben went with a large group from his church to a youth leadership conference in Nashville, Tennessee where he won accolades and awards for his participation in several activities and competitions.
His dad is youth minister at their church, so Ben also gets to participate in many of the activities and volunteer efforts of the high school youth. This photo appeared in the local newspaper when the group volunteered to help out at a sporting event for handicapped youngsters.
And Ben volunteered right here at our house to help us do some spring cleaning on our property…
His well-deserved birthday party was on the hottest day we’ve had this spring, over 90 degrees (over 32 Celsius), and Ben and his friends were able to enjoy the inflatable water slide his parents rented for the occasion.
The following week, remembering the anniversary of his first brain surgery, his parents took him to Atlanta to an Atlanta Braves baseball game where his team won!
As always, many thanks to all of you who have kept Ben in your thoughts and prayers!
The new school year began yesterday for our little trooper, and we are so glad Ben received a clean bill of health from Dr. Berenstein before beginning second grade. (Dr. “B” is Director of the Pediatric Cerebrovascular Program at Mount Sinai Health System in New York.)
The day before classes began, Ben and his Mom attended an open house at the school during which he had the opportunity to meet his teacher. Before they set out, Mom took this selfie photo …
And here’s 7-year-old Brave Ben ready for his first day of second grade…
A couple of weeks ago, we had a lovely visit from Ben and his mom and dad. He especially wanted to show us some of the souvenirs he received while visiting Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, and he laid it all out for us to see…
(The post about that tour of the air base can be read here.)
It’s always great to have Ben visit! He’s a very kind and loving boy and is beloved by many, many people.
Here he is with his grandfather (my husband)…
And his great grandfather ( my dad)…
We all wish Ben much success in 2nd grade! Thanks to all who have kept him in your thoughts and prayers!