My daughter announced that she wanted to go to the junior high dance. It was a Valentine’s Day dance.
Her brother, 2 years older than her, declared that school dances were “bad” and that his little sister should not attend. There were many other reasons why she shouldn’t. What would she wear? Would anyone hang out with her? Who would support her while she was there? Would she roll over people’s toes in the dark auditorium? Would the lights and noise cause a seizure?
But there was one important reason why she should go: she wanted to. She likes music and loves to dance. Like every girl at her school, my daughter wanted to go the Valentine’s Day dance.
So we made plans.
I contacted the school to see what needed to be done in order for someone to come with her to the dance. School rules were that only kids who attended the school were allowed to come to the dance.
There was no hesitation on the part of the school. They knew my daughter would need support to attend so they started the ball rolling on that. It was decided that a young friend of ours (in her 20s) would attend the dance with my daughter (way better than mom attending). Her support system was in place.
The day of the dance, my daughter had a hard time thinking about school work, tests, and assignments (but so did every other student). She was excited about the big night ahead of her.
After school, my daughter had an early dinner. She picked out her outfit. She picked out her shoes. We helped her dress. We discussed what hair style would be best. And then we did her hair while she looked on in the mirror.
When it was time to go, she looked at her reflection and declared that she was beautiful. And every other girl headed to the dance did the same.
The dance was a success. My daughter had a ball. She danced the night away. She donned the glow necklaces that were passed out at the door. The lights on her wheelchair’s wheels added to the glitz.
At the end of the evening, when the lights came on and the dance was over, she wished for more time to dance and sing and enjoy the night. And every other girl at the dance did the exact same.
My girl made memories at her first junior high dance. And she is looking forward to the next dance. Just like every other girl at the dance that night.
Sometimes as a parent, we have to take a risk and let our child do something that we think could allow them to get hurt – either physically or emotionally. Here is an article that helped me decide it is worth the risk.
You can find additional parenting tips on Navigating Daily Life – Parenting Children with Disabilities.