The next year, I left the classroom to become the Performing Arts Center manager, and Ben pretty much became a permanent fixture in my office. I knew next to nothing about the technical side of running a PAC, and he was one of a couple of students who willingly gave up his free time after school to come in and help me out. I have such great memories of many afternoons spent sitting and talking with him on the couch in my office. When Bryn arrived that November, they became instant BFF.
In spite of the fact that he was only a high school sophomore at the time (and a boy to boot), Ben carried Bryn around the school with him so much that he was actually asked, "Is that baby yours?" Ben assisted me in introducing Bryn to her early (and abiding) love of singing and dancing. Here's a picture of the two of them together at school, with Bryn around eight months old:
When I left ZCHS at the end of that year, we stayed close to Ben. He became our preferred babysitter. He was the only person that my clingy little mama's girl would willingly leave my arms to go to. He spent enough time with our family that he dubbed himself "Ben #2" to avoid confusion with my husband Ben. Our friendship continued through my family's move to Brownsburg, my return to ZCHS to direct a few shows, the birth of Shay, Ben's high school graduation and his enrollment at our alma mater, Butler University. Even during his incredibly busy college schedule of classes and tons of vocal performing ensembles, Ben has made time to come over and visit us and the girls. He has given them Christmas gifts a few years, but whether or not he comes bearing gifts, they are always excited to see him.
Ben studied abroad in Austria this past semester, and while we missed him, I also loved reliving my own college study abroad adventures through hearing about his. He just returned to the States and was anxious to meet Liam, so we were all excited to get together for dinner last night. Here he is with the newest member of the MeyPfan family:
So here's to many more years of great friendship--we love you, Ben #2!