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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Father Daughter Valentines Dance

"I dance with you?" It was a constant memory, passing by the high school where the dances had been held, suddenly she would remember. Looking at a picture with her handsome father all decked out in his tux, just for her, she would get giddy. All year it would creep into conversations. The last year she was young enough to go to it was upon us. It held a lot sadness, a typical thing to do with her Dad, but all her "friends" had outgrown it many years earlier. She would want a pretty dress and grown up shoes, but the shoes, ugh, the shoes were such a problem. Her cerebral palsy caused her right leg to be weak and her ankle would turn in unstable shoes. There was no way she could wear even a small heel like typical preteens. Pumps or even low ballet shoes, would be an issue. Her smaller right foot could slip out of a shoe that fit her left foot and she could possibly fall. I had kept my eyes open for shoes that would make her feel grown up but that she would not kill herself in while walking or dancing. I had lived through leg surgery with her and there was the time she slipped dancing The Electric Slide in our house and had broken her leg. That story will have to wait but living through those two times with her in a cast, I knew I didn't want to take a chance. In past years I had satisfied her want for fancy shoes with glittery sneakers or little girl patten leathers with a strap to keep them on. Thinking it all out, I wondered if anyone had any idea how much thought I put into such simple things? I wondered if she even got how much my mind churns trying to help her feel just a little bit "normal." Maybe my husband, Mark gets it, but he is probably the only one. I wanted this year to be special, she had loved the dance previous years and I knew we were making memories for her. I knew the rec. would probably make an exception and let her come next year, but technically, this was it and maybe it should be? Maybe exceptions should not be made, after all it is part of growing up also, excepting that you have outgrown something. Standing at the store I analyze shoes, my friends keep an eye out for some too, calling my cell if they have a find. Finally, I just buy three pairs, hoping with all my heart one of them fits her. She could have her whole day ruined by such a mistake on my part. She could rage and the dance would be a failure if I bring home shoes she likes but can't fit into or walk in. I hold my breath as I try them on her feet, her excitement grows, but I've blown it, none of them work. I backtrack, figuring I can get the bigger size and one of them will be ok. She is forgiving and understanding and I'm grateful as I run back to the store one more time. The shoes look good and she likes them. They are off to the dance, but soon into it a text from my husband says he is in trouble. He gets more desperate and calls me, she is raging at the dance because she is sure "someone was looking at her." She is sure other kids see her as different and are staring at her, it makes her angry and no reasoning with her can occur. I pick her up so Mark can stay with our younger daughter who is having a good time with the many friends she has. Heartbroken, I want to cry, her last chance at this memory, her little sister with friends and her with not a one. Sometimes I can't think too much about it or I'm afraid my heart will just break into a million pieces. Sometimes the shoes are all I can give her...

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