My daughter, Melinda Kay, looked so beautiful tonight ....
The school where she attends held their first annual "Prom For Children With Special Needs"; the children (mostly teenagers ages 15 to 20) got to act like normal teenagers for the entire evening, and it was a wonderful, magical time.
Melinda, who is 15, has never had what one would call a normal childhood. She has been in and out of hospitals since her birth due to spina bifida; she has always attended a school for children with special needs. She has friends, but not that many, and she has always been painfully shy, especially around people (kids) she doesn't know. We have been trying for years to try to get her to open up, but to no avail.
To see her this evening, looking like a princess in her beautiful floor length gown, her hair styled and done up fancy, wearing makeup, and laughing/talking with her "date" (Timmy Marshall, who is 20 and has Down's) and friends, made me and a lot of people cry. She enjoyed "dancing" in her wheelchair and forgetting about her medical troubles, even if it was just for a while.
The kids at the prom had the time of their lives. Pictures were taken, addresses and phone numbers were exchanged, they talked of things like boys, music, and fashion (just like any typical teenager), and the chaperones at the event enjoyed seeing the kids being treated normally for once instead of ostracized or separated from the other kids.
My daughter could not stop talking about Timmy Marshall or how cute he was, or how well he danced and how nice he was. I think she may have a potential boyfriend, which is a huge step forward for her, considering just how shy she has always been throughout most of her life.
I do hope that the prom will be an annual event for the children at New Horizons School; it opened up an entirely new world for them and today, a day later, I am sure that a good number of them are still on cloud nine. I know my daughter is; it will probably be rememebered as one of the most significant events of her young life for years to come!