A Dinner With Friends


November was a hard month. No matter what your politics, it seemed like everybody was mad at everybody else all the time. The weather got cold, the kids got sick.

We woke up on November 9th pretty dispirited. But we still had work to do. As part of the Revlon Million Dollar Challenge, we’d offered to host a community dinner, along with the parents of another type 1 named Frankie that lives in our small town.

When I approached Mary from 5 Marys Farm about the cost of lamb, hearing that it was for Beyond Type 1, she so very generously donated and seriously hustled to get enough lamb to us in time. We were so touched by this gesture and amazed at the outpouring of support.


We had legs of lamb from Five Marys Farm to be slow-cooked in a tagine. We had eight eggplants readied to be roasted for baba ghanoush. A half-dozen pomegranates to be seeded. Four pounds of tomatoes to smoke. Everyone scrambled to claim a station. The girls had worked with a local baker to make the chocolate tarts for dessert. Our friend Casey came to take photos and quickly became the bartender for the event (and still ran around to take photos), Frankie’s grandmother sliced and toasted bread with me, Henry’s sister Rosie helped plate and serve appetizers, as Piper made sure that everything on the tables were just right. Our friend Erin arrived with a beautiful centerpiece.


There’s something centering about cooking. When you’re doing repetitive tasks in the kitchen, it’s soothing. It connects you to something that’s constant and relatively unchanged for centuries. No matter what else happens, humans will prepare food for themselves and each other.

bt1-jensen-triple-2 bt1-rose-plate

People started to show up. Our daughter walked around trays of toasted bread with smoked tomato and Greek yogurt. My son filled drinks, took coats, and very loudly announced when dinner was ready. When dessert was served the tarts slid around on the carefully plated tarts as Henry served them, nearly dropping them and it only added to the charm.

Spying on my parent’s parties from the top of the stairs growing up was one of our favorite pastimes as kids, eventually my sister and I started to join the party. We made ourselves useful, to earn our keep to stay up way past our bedtimes. We loved the idea of folding the kids into the entire event, I mean, this really was all about them and other people like them. They felt special and part of something larger. They were able to see all of the people sitting at the tables who were there for them. They could feel that room, how full of love it was.


So we came together, as a family and as a community, around a table. We poured wine, broke bread, listened to music and ate our fill. The kids sat at their own table, counting the carbs together.

We talked about diabetes, of course, but we mostly talked about each other. Changes in our lives, hopes for the future. Triumphs and tragedies of all sizes.

When we raise funds for Beyond Type 1, we do it because we know that it’s going to important research, programs to improve real people’s lives, and outreach to make the world aware of the reality of diabetes.

But we also do it because it brings us together. It lets the people we love make the statement that diabetes matters to them too, even if they’re not personally affected by it. It lets us mend together, in a world that seems increasingly torn apart.

At the end of the night, we washed dishes as our kids lay on the couches, reading. It was way past their bedtime, when they’d normally be intolerably frayed, but they were calm. Comfortable. At home, surrounded by friends and family.