Monday, February 8, 2010

A glimpse into my life as a mother to a special needs teenager…

The following is what I wrote while sitting at my daughter’s dance…

Wow, I am truly in a funny/strange place right now.  I am chaperoning my daughter at the Snow Ball at her high school.  This is a BIG DEAL dance. It is a formal affair for only the grades 9-12.  I had been assured the girls take it very seriously and DRESS UP. You would not believe some of the dresses walking around here. They are tiny (the dresses that is, not necessarily the girls). I am restraining myself, just barely, from asking what on earth is keeping their hemlines on the correct side of their derriere’s.

Yes, I am at a high school dance, sitting at a table all by myself, and I don’t feel strange at all.  Had this happened when I was in high-school I would have been mortified. On the other side of that argument I do feel a bit OLD. Oh-oh – they’re pairing up for a dreaded slow dance…now I’m really glad I’m old!

Holy crap! I just saw a girl I used to babysit walk by with her blond hair dyed black, Goth makeup, and a ring through her nose!…and a sparkly, pretty dress – go figure!

I just did a quick circuit to find Abby and she’s in the middle of the kids dancing like nobody is watching.

I have to admit I was scared to come to this dance. I was scared I’d be the girl crying in the bathroom. Ever since 7th grade a family friend has taken Abby to all the dances cause she enjoyed doing so and I was more than happy to let her. Because Abby is special, it would hurt to see the other kids her age. Hurt to see them grow up and mature. Abby is probably not going to mature much more than where she is now. And at other times I’ve seen Abby run up to a group of kids, all excited, and they barely pay attention to her. They just drift off as a group and leave her standing there alone. Not even trying. Whether your kid is disabled or normal that is a special hell for a mother to visit. One time we were walking around town and a kid (boy) pointed to Abby, said something to his friends, and laughed – not in a nice way. I came uncorked. I don’t remember everything I said. Something along the lines that Abby didn’t choose to be how she is – and that I was glad she is “special” cause if he was an example of what “normal” is like…and that he better watch how he treats others cause he could have a special child one day too – you don’t exactly sign up for the privilege. Well, I don’t think that kid will forget that day, I don’t think I’ll forget it either. And in case your wondering, Abby didn’t witness that confrontation, I sent her into a store with my son while I went crazy on that boy.

So that is why I haven’t gone to the dances. But I’ve let Abby go cause she really seems to like them and by all reports has a great time. But you know what? I’m not sad!! I’m watching Abby dance like nobody else is watching – and really, nobody but me really is watching. But guess what, all the other kids are very aware that someone may be watching them – I’d bet that some of them are hoping that someone is watching them, and I’d bet that some are hoping that nobody is watching them. Abby is oblivious to all that. I’d also bet that some of the girls fought with their mother’s about what to wear to this dance. At least I’d like to believe that some of the mothers put up a fight about some of those dresses. Abby fought with me… she didn’t want to wear the slip I laid out for her. And when I saw the dress didn’t ride up her tights I didn’t make her wear the slip. Sheesh – she’s the only one in sleeves or tights – and I don’t think she’s noticed…I just love that girl!

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This is her disco pose.

And here is my craft/storage tip for the day. My neighbor gave me a long down coat. Lovely, but not my style. However, it can get kind of cold up here in Minnesota, so I wanted to keep it. So, I pulled the arms of the coat to the inside, buttoned the thing up from top to bottom and rolled it into a tube. Then I put it inside two pillow cases – wallah – instant down pillow. Works great!!!

8 comments:

Julie said...

Abby is "special" but not always special needs. She is a girl with the hugest heart, the prettiest smile, the biggest hugs. I love her to death Kim and I am so very glad I got to know you and your family so many years ago. I wouldn't trade our friendship, the love of your family for anything in this world.
Thank you for sharing all of them with me. Take care and have a great day. I'm heading off to town with mama to see Cleo, have lunch and then come home and watch a couple episodes of Horder. Talk with you later on. Love you my dear friend.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing, Kim. I am a little teared up right now. Abby is a lucky girl to have such a wonderful mother. I'm glad you went to her dance, and I'm proud of you for letting the little creep at the mall "have it". What a great picture, I love the disco pose. Looks like it was a great night. Talk to you soon...Ona

Timothy N. said...

Kim: who loves ya.
T.&J.@ Dana2

Anonymous said...

OK - now I can't stop crying! I knew I would have a hard time reading this post...when I left on Saturday I wanted to talk to you about the dance but couldn't! I don't know how you do it...Abby is a wonderful little girl!! I am so glad you were OK! I worried that it would be hard for you...you are a wonderful mother and God knew you were special to take on challenges in life! You always "appear" to take everything in stride...I envy that! You know me, I wear everything on my sleeve! ha! Thanks for the post - you are the best!!! slw

Snippety Gibbet said...

What a sweet story. I'm so glad to hear that your young one loves dances and has a friend who happily takes her. What a great friend.

cindi said...

I have only said this to one other person in my life; my dear friend Starla. But I want to say it to you. God has blessed you with beauty and grace. I don't necessarily mean in the physical, obvious ways. But you deal with your life and your sweet Abby and the rest of everything that life throws at you with beauty and grace. I truly admire you.

Sarah and Jack said...

This really is a lovely post. I came here via one pretty thing, thinking I would find only craft, but decided to dig around a little. What a sweet and honest portrait of your life with your daughter.

Sue said...

As a Mom to a special needs teenager of my home this post really touched my heart. Our children are just as precious to us as everyone's are to them. I also love that Ryan can dance and not care who watches, sing and even skips to the school bus because he is not afraid to show his joy in every day things. Perhaps "normal" people should be more eager to show joy and not worry about who thinks what about them.

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