Parker wanted to go to prom. He had been talking about it endlessly for months. The letter from the school came (the 3 page letter of details!) and I knew I could not put it off any longer. I needed to find him a date, create a plan and move this forward.
I held my breath and typed the following status on Facebook:
"Super, incredibly amazing, handsome 16 year old boy (named Parker) is looking for a date for Canton's prom on Saturday, April 23rd.
He's been asking me since November, today the note came home about signing up so it's time for this mom to swallow her anxiety, bite the bullet and find her son a date for Prom.
Grand March and Prom. He's ready. He's asking daily when we can shop for something to wear and more importantly who is going with him. Who can help me make this happen?Please message me if you are interested in accompanying Parker to Grand March and Prom. :-)"mile emoticon
And then... the wait, very anxiously, began.
I know that people think this is easy, to put out a request like this on Facebook. I "talk" for Parker so often, I am one of many who is key to his daily communication and success. But it's not. It never is easy. It never gets easier to put my son "out" in such a public way to ask for something so important to him. Like everyone, he has feelings and emotions - so do I. It's scary, I never know what the reaction will be. I never know if there will be fallout or kids at school who will give him a difficult time. It's not easy to ask, to not know and to have so much out of my control. But, it is what is necessary to find the right person who wants to spend the evening with Parker. Wants to, not has to.
This ask was huge, the biggest dance of the year. Prom. Parker's first prom. He's been to all of the other school dances but this will be his first prom. While he's not sure yet why it's so different, he knows it's big and important and different than the rest.
There were many likes, a handful of replies from supportive friends out of town and state who were thinking of us. With each passing minute, I started to worry. Parker went to bed. I watched, cautiously, waiting to see what would happen.
Then, Rylee text me.
Not only did she want to go to prom but she wanted to do a promposal - that she had already thought out and had planned - that was perfect for my tie-loving son.
And reminded me of how very well she knows Parker, understands his disability and his needs.
I'm not sure I slept much that night before, every worry ran through my mind. Would she change her mind? Would the surprise backfire? Would he be happy? Would I be able to hide my anxiety? How would Rylee do if Parker didn't handle the surprise well? It was endless. I should learn to have more faith and less worry. It was out of my hands, all I could do is get Parker to school on time and go with the flow.
We dropped off Allison, like we do every morning, and headed to the high school - touching base with Rylee the entire way.
Then, with cell phone recording it all unfolded in front of me in the most wonderful way - showing how difficult surprises are but also the incredible bond and understanding of friends to help Parker through the surprise and excitement.
I've seen many promposal's over the years. I never imagined my son would receive one. I never would have thought of one so perfect. It's a testament to their friendship. It's a reminder of why I've spent so much time pushing for inclusion, talking to his classmates, explaining his disability, keeping him involved and trusting in the friendships that were being formed with his typical peers.
This promposal, is my favorite. So much real and raw emotion. From anxiety, to overwhelmed, to unsure, to excited, to happy, to thankful - we saw it all - more importantly, we saw the power of friendship. The difference understanding and acceptance can make.
We shared our story on Facebook, with family and friends. While, maybe we should have given how touched we were by the promposal, we never expected what happened next....
Chapter 2 - coming soon :-)
**Parker was born with a genetic disability called Fragile X Syndrome. Fragile X is the leading cause of inherited intellectual disability and the leading known genetic cause of autism. Fragile X has been in our family for at least 6 generations yet we had no idea until Parker was diagnosed in March of 2003. Please take time to learn more about Fragile X Syndrome and all fragile x related disorders at www.fragilex.org