Willow House is a proud sponsor and active contributor to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. This month's event reminded me of friends who have dealt with this disease and how they positively impacted my life.
Almost thirty years ago, while Jeff and I were just engaged, we were privileged to be friends with a special family. Mike and Christine Nelson graciously and regularly invited us into their home, allowing us a glimpse into thirty-something married life with three young boys. Along the way, Jeff and I learned many lessons in love, faith, and fun.
One lesson that I continued to be reminded of is the faith that motherhood requires. Not long before moving to Chandler, Mike and Christine had learned (through near tragic events) that their youngest son, Ben, was diabetic. As Jeff and I spent time with the family, it was easy to see what a challenge that parenting a preschool diabetic could be. I already marveled at the feat of parenting three very young boys -- but throwing a life-altering disease into the mix was just mind-boggling.
At some point, we came aware that the diabetes kept Mike and Christine on a very short leash. Ben required testing and shots throughout the day, as well as constant supervision and evaluation. My mercy-filled fiance offered to learn how to provide this care for Ben so that we could take the kids at times, giving Mike and Christine much-needed couple time. (Note: this was no small feat, as Jeff did not normally "do" needles, blood, or pain without great risk to his own consciousness.) As a mother, I can now better understand the faith it must have taken for Christine to allow the two of us to take her boys -- particularly Ben -- on an all-day outing.
In later years, Ben was active in the church youth group and participated in all sorts of events. I believe that he once had some issues related to his sugar-management while away on a youth trip, and wasn't handled quite right (but with no serious consequences, thankfully). Meanwhile, Christine continued to trust and pray, allowing her boy to grow up and spread his wings. And grow up he did -- now married and, I believe, with children of his own.
My children are healthy and, generally speaking, discerning -- yet I still deal with fear at times as their independence grows. I must be continually reminded that there is One who cares for them even more than I do: their Heavenly Father. Thank you, Christine, for your example in this.
When you purchase a Roxy Reindeer ornament, Willow House will donate $2 to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.