Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Shall We Dance?
Ashley is in the eighth grade this year – her last year in middle school. And as is the tradition at our middle schools, the eighth grade dance is coming up in just 3 weeks. I can’t begin to tell you how much I would like for Ashley to go to the dance, but there are some obstacles.
First, the dance is from 7pm till 8:30pm. Ashley, because her daily seizures wear her out, is usually asleep no later than 6:30pm each night. I would be willing to let her stay home from school and sleep all day though if she wanted.
Secondly, while not all the 8th graders go with ‘dates’, I really don’t want Ashley to go alone. A lot of really wealthy families live within a few miles of my not at all wealthy neighborhood. Inclusion is not a familiar word to many of those families. Parent’s attitudes are passed to their children, and as a result, Ashley would probably be excluded at the dance. Unless…she went with a ‘date’. Justin is a classmate of Ashley’s and he has been very protective of Ashley during the last few school years. But how do I ask his mother if he can go to the dance with Ashley? Both Ashley and Justin would need adult support during the dance, but I also think they would greatly enjoy each other’s company.
And the final obstacle? I don’t think Ashley really cares about going to the dance. Yes, she would love a new dress, but she would be just as happy going out to dinner in that dress. Because most of the regular education students have ignored her all year, she doesn’t have friends she would look forward to seeing. And, because school itself has not been a positive experience this year, going back into the school building at night is not something that would thrill her.
So, do I ask Ashley to make one of my dreams a reality, or do I let her be her unique and special self, making her own decisions and living life her own way? As sad as missing the dance might make me, I believe I know the answer to that question.