April 10, 2017

Goodness Comes in Many Forms

I loved prom. I loved every single bit of it. I’m sure not everyone loved their prom, but mine was a blast. And I so wanted my daughter with Down syndrome to experience this rite of passage just like her peers. I wasn’t sure how to help make this happen as being her escort would require a special young man. I met with Cara’s teacher and enlisted her help. I asked her to see if she could speak to a few of the juniors and seniors she knew to find someone who would be willing to take Cara to prom. I was so afraid the answer would be no. I was terrified to feel that rejection for my daughter and feared it would be so painful for her (and me) to see all of her peers talking about prom if she didn’t have anyone to go with. It was all the junior girls talked about and I so wanted her to be included.

So I prayed. And I asked the Universe to deliver the perfect prom date for Cara to allow her to have this special experience so she could feel beautiful, included and dance her heart out for a special night with her peers. He would need to be a special young man who would be patient and would roll with whatever Cara was going to dish out, as she usually has a few surprises.

And the Universe delivered. A certain young man I’ll name Mark was approached by a female classmate who knew both Cara and Mark. She told Mark that Cara needed a date to prom, and Mark happily agreed. All of this was happening behind the scenes. Then Cara’s teacher strategically and carefully offered the suggestion to Cara that she consider asking Mark to the prom. Cara knew Mark and she enthusiastically agreed. Phew. I should mention that Mark was a senior, a talented musician, a varsity soccer athlete, an artist, a top student, a Best Buddies volunteer, and his class president (not a complete list of his many accomplishments). Jackpot.

So the next step was to help Cara develop a high impact “promposal” to compete with the elaborate promposals that all the students choreograph — a beloved school tradition. It’s a big deal. So because Cara and Mark were in ceramics class together, Cara formed the word “PROM?” in clay and wrote an oversized card asking Mark if he would take her to prom complete with boxes he could check off for YES or NO. He checked YES. All done in front of the entire ceramics class, and everyone cheered. I saw the video, which was about the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen, and got to witness Mark’s genuinely charming reply and Cara’s pure delight at hearing his acceptance. These are the moments worth savoring.

I had a blast finding her a gorgeous dress (she hates to shop), she had her hair and makeup done (which she hated) and despite not being a girlie-girl, she walked the Grand March like she was a queen, waving her red rose in the air as she descended the stage steps. As I watched her with Mark so carefully tending to her as they climbed up and down the stage stairs together, tears of joy were streaming down my face And I’m told there were many other tears shed in the moment as well. as so many in the audience could feel Cara’s joy and her radiant heart as she proudly walked that stage with her handsome date for all to see.

It takes a village as the saying goes, and our village really pulled through on this one, consisting of earth angels known and unknown who all made Cara’s prom a reality for her. On that special day my girl got to feel the same as all the other girls felt – excited, beautiful, happy and included. And Mark? Our handsome, kind and generous hero, was gifted with the pleasure of my amazing daughter’s company for an evening, and her fellow promgoers got to witness some very impressive and creative dance moves. I call that a win-win.


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