Today, we’re featuring Scott Benner, a.k.a. @ardensday, as part of our Father’s Day Tribute series. Scott has been a stay-at-home father since 2000. He’s been blogging about what it’s like to be the parent of a child with type 1 for the last four years. Thanks Scott for being part of our Father’s Day Tribute series and for sharing this beautifully written, sincere post that literally left me with an empty tissue box.
Q. What’s your favorite memory with your daughter?
When I received the topic I knew immediately what I’d write about, that is, I do have a favorite memory with my daughter, Arden, but writing about it in an interesting and meaningful way, well, it took me a number of days to understand how to do that.
My wife, Kelly, and I were married in the summer of 1996, we have two children. Our son, Cole, is 11 and our daughter, Arden, is 6. Arden was diagnosed with type I diabetes a few weeks after her second birthday.
We are a family that takes a lot of pictures and the last time that I looked we had nearly 45,000 images in iPhoto. Most every one of them has been filed in my mind as pre and post diagnosis. I don’t know why and I certainly don’t have this thought purposely but I do find that it happens quite often — I’ll see a photo and I think, “Arden wasn’t diabetic in that picture”.
It happens with most every photo except this one…
Scott and Arden
This photo was taken on Cole’s first day of kindergarten by Kelly. We were waiting in our front yard for Cole to arrive home from school. Kelly had taken the day off to be there when Cole got on the bus and she stayed home to welcome him as he got off.
This seemingly innocuous moment is my favorite with Arden in part because this day was a perfect day. This moment, these 20 or so minutes that we spent waiting for the bus to arrive and playing in the grass, was the apex of the day. I remember now, just as clearly as if it were yesterday that I felt perfect inside. I think that even if you don’t know me, you can see on my face the sheer joy and pure love that I have for Arden, Cole and Kelly. It was all but pouring from me as I looked into her big eyes. I should stop for a second, I just realized that I’ve never thanked Kelly for taking what has been, is and may well forever be my favorite photo of Arden and me. Thank you so much Kelly!
Before. I bet that every parent of a child with type I just read that word and knew what I meant. Anyway, before Arden was diagnosed I didn’t understand life. I thought that I did but circumstances have leant me a unique perspective and that perspective has clarified what it is that I’m to take from and give to a day. Thanks to this clarity, I see the beauty in things that may well to most, be unworthy of a second glance.
So that’s my favorite moment with my daughter, Arden. It happened at the end of a perfect day, a day that I spent with Arden and my wife just feeling good about life, excited at the world of possibilities that existed for our family. It culminated in that patch of grass somewhere between watching Arden holding on to my wife’s leg as she learned to walk and the exact second that that photo was taken. In that moment my heart was as full and as happy as any of us could ever hope for – and I am lucky enough to have a picture of it so that I can never forget what perfect feels like and who makes me feel that way.
I hope that your child’s life with type I opens your heart to what really matters and that you are able from time to time to forget that there was a before and just take in the wonderment of now. I know all too well that much of your lives are filled with stress, worry and a constant and nagging sense that something bad is waiting around the bend. I know the failure that a high BG makes you feel and that the guilt of that reading lasts too long. I know that with diabetes comes arguments, extra costs and a prioritization that is often unfair to you, your spouse and others in your family. I know all of that and still I choose to believe that there are more perfect days ahead for my family and for yours.
My heartfelt best to you and yours. You are not alone.
Scott – I cannot thank you enough for sharing this incredibly personal moment between you and Arden (and Kelly). I wish you and yours a very Happy Father’s Day!
All the best, Laura K.
Disclosure: This blogger received no compensation for this post. All opinions contained in this post reflect those of the blogger, and not of sanofi-aventis U.S., its employees, agencies or affiliates.