Thursday, May 4, 2017

Getting Ready For The Big Dance

I can still remember the first and only sonogram we had when we were pregnant with Grace.  We had already decided that we wanted to find out whether we were having a boy or a girl, and Kyle was quite certain it was a boy.

Kyle and his beautiful dates for the father-daughter dance.
Imagine his surprise, when our friend, Kris, immediately told us it was a girl.  Kyle said the first thing he thought of was how expensive it would be to buy Prom dresses someday. I have to say he's probably right since he thinks it's expensive to pay more than $10 for pants or shoes. But I also knew the moment she arrived, he would be wrapped around her finger, and she would get whatever dress her heart desired.

Kyle and Grace pose with the scholarship committee.
We know now that Grace may not ever have the chance to go to Prom someday. It's hard to think about that, but there are also kind people who have given us another chance to make some memories with Grace along the way.

Two years ago, some of our friends in Litchfield hosted a father-daughter dance at the Moose, and Kyle decided he wanted to take Grace.  Even though moms weren't technically allowed, I got to come along in case Kyle needed help with Grace. Much to our surprise, Grace was crowned the queen of the dance, and we were so honored.

Kyle and Grace shared some "carnival" food.
The twinkies were decorated to look like corndogs.
Then, last year, our friends at Lincolnwood started a scholarship in Grace's name for someone going into the medical field. To raise money for the scholarship, they also hosted a father-daughter dance, and Kyle and Grace had a great time together.
Mommy and daddy being silly at the carnival.
This April 22 marked the second father-daughter dance to raise money for the Grace Herschelman Scholarship, and Kyle had two beautiful dates this year.  The girls even had almost matching dresses due to the fact that Charlotte's Easter dress failed to arrive before Easter.
Charlotte looked awfully pretty in her dress too!
Grace had such a great time at the dance, and she looked beautiful!
For me, it's a fun chance to get Grace dressed up.  I may not have the chance to help her get ready for Prom someday, so I'm taking every chance I get now!  I did matching bright purple manicures and pedicures for me and Grace.  I can't say that me painting her nails is one of her favorite things, but she seems to indulge me. This time, I even braved painting Charlotte's tiny nails to match.  Hair is another story all together.  I've never been very good at styling hair, and it doesn't help that Grace can't really hold her head up.  But we work together so it looks nice, and then dress it up with a bow.  Charlotte had a sweet headband, but she managed to wriggle out of it before we got there.
The girls hanging out with some of their favorite cousins!
Cousin Katelyn won a crown for Grace at the carnival games.
This year's theme was a carnival, and Kyle and Grace walked around the carnival games when we got there while I fed Charlotte. They had several carnival-type games set up, as well as a photo booth, face painting, cotton candy and balloon animals. Inside the gym, a DJ played music for dancing.  Much like high school dances, it was mostly girls dancing on the floor, while the dads kind of stood off to the side.  The dads did join in every now and again, and I liked watching Kyle dance with Grace in her stroller.  

John and Leandra Schaff donated the money they raised selling cotton candy to INAD research.
Our friend, Audrey, sold brownies at her family's yard sale to raise money for INAD research.
We even received just over $150 for INAD research. The Schaffs were selling cotton candy and donated the proceeds to research, and one young dancer had sold brownies at her family's yard sale and wanted to donate the money to INAD research.

Kyle and Grace doing a little bit of dancing.
Toward the end of the evening, they invited the dads and daughters out for one last dance.  Kyle picked Grace up out of her stroller and swayed with her as the DJ played "Beauty and the Beast." Tears sprung to my eyes. It reminded me of the time my dad taught me to slow dance in our living room before my very first Prom. It broke my heart that Kyle may not have that chance with Grace. As I caught his eye, I noticed a few tears as well, even though they were probably for a different reason.

These two shared a special dance before the end of the night.
Each and every day, we try our best to give Grace a normal life. We take her out and about to do things with us as a family, as if she didn't have INAD.  It's not always easy, and we definitely don't have the same experiences as other families. But we keep trying. We keep making memories and taking her on adventures so that we can give her as much as life has to offer. After all, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in those years.


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