Author Archives: Michael Casten

Our Children Have Learned to Express Empathy

All three of our kids — Ava, Henry, and Ella — have been stuck inside the house for a month or so due to COVID-19 quarantine. They’ve been finishing school work, playing on their devices, and doing other small projects. Ella’s mom, Lindsay, and I…

The Casten Kids Get a New Puppy

It was a sad time when our dear Potter had to be put to sleep because he had T-cell lymphoma. Our entire family went along for that, including Potter’s sister, Ginny. We knew our 3-year-old dog wouldn’t make it, so before he left us, we contacted a…

The Casten Kids Find Privacy for E-learning

School books, folders, random scratch paper, art supplies, food, drinks. All of this lay aimlessly on our kitchen table. Until recently, my children — Ava, Henry, and Ella — spent much of their day at the table. There, they engaged in e-learning, arts and crafts, and eating. We…

Ella and Her Brother Learn a Lesson

The world is holding its collective breath as COVID-19 makes its way across the globe. My daughter Ella has SMA. Her respiratory system is particularly fragile and compromised due to her disease. A simple cold can wreak havoc on her, landing her in the hospital…

Ella Can Play Basketball by Herself

Warm weather in Chicagoland is slowly but surely creeping in. Temperatures on some days allow kids sporting short-sleeved shirts to play outside. Ella’s older brother, Henry, recently took advantage of a warm Saturday afternoon. He found his basketball and pumped it up. We have a regulation-sized…

Ella Can Be Wise Beyond Her Years

Ella is 9 years old. She has a debilitating disease called spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Her life is difficult at times, and she needs assistance with everyday tasks. She does as much as she can by herself, but ultimately she needs a lot of help.  You…