collage of photos of Penny and two friends from Hope Heals visiting the Aquarium in Atlanta and prom dress shopping

The Highs are Higher

“The highs are higher and the lows are lower.”

Peter and I used to say that a lot about having a child with Down syndrome. In recent years, the emotions around Penny’s experience haven’t been as extreme as they were in the beginning. I’ve never felt totally comfortable sharing the “lows are lower” experiences, and that is all the more true as Penny becomes an adult.

Still, the “highs are higher” days are worth sharing, and we just had one of those.

As a backdrop, I’ve kind of been dreading going prom dress shopping with Pen. I don’t particularly like shopping. I’m not good at it. And Penny’s petite frame makes it hard to find dresses that fit. Not to mention, who wants to shop for prom dresses with their mother?

But we had a plan. Over spring break, once we returned from a quick trip to Atlanta, we would find a dress.

Then, when we were in Atlanta, we mentioned the prom dress shopping plan to two young women who are friends and mentors for Penny. Alex and Caroline are both staff members of Hope Heals, and they were planning to spend an afternoon with Penny, with a trip to the aquarium and the ferris wheel and then head over to Caroline’s house for a girls’ night. It was already a dream-come-true moment, and then they lit up with the thought that perhaps I would be okay with them taking Penny dress shopping instead.

So. I went to the Civil Rights Museum, and they went to the mall. Not only did they spend the next three hours trying on dresses, they found the perfect dress. It is lovely and it fits and it met our budget and Penny felt celebrated and seen.

I saw the photos of them together and could have cried with joy and gratitude.

Yes, sometimes, the lows are lower. And sometimes the highs are higher too.


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