Making Lemonade With Ben: The Audacity to Cope
Seven-year-old Ben is found in a coma, suffers myriad disabilities and, later, mental health issues. Yet, love wins. Narrated with irrepressible humor by the quirky mom, this award- winning tale culminates with Ben’s victorious invitation to Washington D.C., to represent Madison Children’s Museum at a national award ceremony. More
This inspiring book explores issues of global significance surrounding a family suddenly presented with a special needs child. At age seven, uber-outgoing Ben experiences myriad disabilities, mental challenges, and later, mental illness. The author candidly portrays her own deep struggles with what Ben's life requires of her, and the roles of various communities in Ben's recovery, including medical, educational, faith, governmental, and cross-cultural. In addition, the author celebrates the good created in Ben's life because of his connection to Yahara House, an internationally accredited mental health treatment and recovery Clubhouse in Madison, and an intentional employer, the Madison Children's Museum.
Ben's perpetually cheerful, never-say-die attitude brings him recognition. In 2011, the museum hires Ben, and then selects him as Community Member to accompany staff to Washington DC. There, the museum receives the Institute of Museum and Library Services National Medal. Ben is front-page Wisconsin State Journal news on December 5, 2011. In November 2012, Madison Magazine features him as one of top ten people giving back to the community.
Despite his various continued challenges and setbacks, Ben now leads an independent life he loves, working at his "dream job." Among other museum duties, Ben is employed as a one-handed juggler. His stated goal? Make humanity smile.
This Cinderella Story is chock-full of pathos, especially employing the author's main coping strategy, humor, while weaving multiple threads of love, and championing a caring community whose values breed success.
Or, as Ben calls it, "A total yin-yang, win-win."