So Dayna went to her prom last night, and had a blast. It wasn’t her first prom, they held one last year when we lived in Maryland that she really enjoyed and as a result she was looking forward to this one as well. But this was different than last year. In Maryland it was held during the day at the school. This year in North Carolina it was held at night with the help of a local Civitan International Club and the Sunrise United Method Church, both in the town of Holly Springs. Their volunteers along with a whole host of support from other businesses and organizations in the area put together a big night for the special needs community called the Steppin’ Out Dance. Dayna got to put on makeup, get into a new dress and shoes that shipped overnight (thanks to her aunt!), and spend time with her teachers, classmates and other special needs kids from the area. They had a red carpet, photographers, food and a DJ. Her teachers did a great job getting her prepared and she couldn’t wait to go, asking about it all day long. She got to experience a real dance and she had a blast.
But there was something else that happened…..our family got to experience it as well with Dayna. Dayna is our oldest, we had her at a time when a lot of our friends were also having their first children. Those children, like Dayna, are now hitting their late teens. In this age of social media, we see posts about kids her age getting their driver’s licenses, sometimes getting new cars, looking at colleges and yes, going to proms. Of course we are happy for all our friends and their children, but no matter how hard you try and overlook it, it also acts as a stark reminder of our daily life. I sit here right now with Dayna happily watching Barney videos at 6 a.m. in the morning behind me, and a short time ago I was helping her in the bathroom. It is what we are used to, we don’t get to experience many of the milestones of typically developed children. However, last night we did, and it makes a big difference. I’m very grateful for the work of the volunteers, the church, her teachers and her assistants for allowing all of us the chance to experience the night. We even got a family picture, something that is very hard to pull off! Here are some pictures from the night!
Thanks again to everyone involved in putting this all together!
I also wanted to respond to my last post. As I mentioned, I usually take some time and thought into writing each post for this site, going back through, refining my thoughts and words and ‘cleansing’ my writing. My last post I decided to write ‘raw’, straight out of my head to this site, in the middle of the night during a night when Dayna was up multiple times. I’m not making an excuse or saying what I wrote was inaccurate, it was straight from the heart, and sometimes what’s in the heart hurts. There are times of joy and triumph, like we had with the prom. But there are also times of frustration and feelings of helplessness, and I wanted to make sure I reflected that feeling in my last post. I started writing this blog in August of 2014. I started on a night that I came to a realization that we were looking at a long road ahead of us, and reflected that in my first post. What I didn’t realize at the time was what the next 2 1/2 years was going to bring us. It was a tough ride and it showed in my posts. Eventually as you know, we hit the restart button, packed up and moved to North Carolina. It was the best thing we have ever done, but also the hardest and it didn’t come without some pain points. Things haven’t been easy, and that was reflected in the emotion of my last post. But, I can honestly say that no matter how hard things can get, since moving here we can also see the beginnings of a new, happier life. We can see hope, and we can see success. We moved here first and foremost for Dayna. She got the help she needed from new doctors, from Murdoch and from her school. Yea, she still wakes me up but overall she sleeps more than ever before. That has helped her behavior, and she is happy and energetic. That means she goes to school everyday, and likes it. For her things are falling into place. Everything else for the rest of us will fall into place as well, and it’s already starting to. Thank you for your kind words and support, and concern. Remember, my purpose at the end of my last post was to remind you what may be on the minds of all parents and families who are raising a child with special needs, not just us. They may need support and help, but may not say it. They may seem like everything is fine, but struggle behind closed doors. For all of us with special needs children, there are times of hope and triumph and there are times when you feel worn down and helpless. The ultimate goal is to have the times of hope outweigh the times of helplessness.
And sometimes all it takes to have that happen that is a group of volunteers and teachers putting together a prom.