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Howdy. We've moved from Cayce, but St. Elizabeth of South Rose Hill or Lizette de Waccamaw de Sud just don't do it for me.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Pure Joy

It's been a hectic couple of weeks for Izzy & me. In the middle of all the exhaustion, especially Izzy's as he did all that teachers have to accomplish at the ends of semesters. But just over a week ago, in the midst of tests, papers, projects, etc., Izzy and I got to spend a few hours of pure joy. Izzy wrote about the evening to a friend, and here he is in his own words:

From the time I got up on Sunday [5/7] until last night [5/13], I had a total of 26 hours sleep, put in on the order of 75 hours inside the bricks, and quite a few at the dining room table or in front of the Mac. Our church's student center & rectory had two fires on the same night (cf. I got home last night at around 10:15, having been at school from 7 AM to 9:30 PM. But those last few hours were soooo worth it.

I'm a co-sponsor for our school's InterAct club, and one of their yearly projects is the Special Needs Prom. The IA kids got out of classes after lunch and started decorating the commons in a tropical theme. I was able to join them 7th period, when I had no students for once (my AP kids were taking their exam). We broke up around 4:30 -- the kids went home to change, and I went to grade a few Family Tree projects. We all gathered again at 6:30 so we could greet our guests, who were to arrive at 7.

Four Downs kids arrived in a horse-drawn carriage and took over the dance floor. They got this one huge kid (over three hundred pounds in a six & 1/2 foot frame, with a permanent shy smile on his face) out there with them; his father said, "I've *never* seen him move like that."

One of the special needs girls took a chair across the room to sit by herself. I went to find one of her teachers to ask if she a normal self-calming thing for her, or if I should send one of our InterAct kids over. By the time I spotted one of the self-contained teachers, a freshman in our club had gone over, invited her to dance, and led her back to the floor. (She went back to her spot after the dance; her teacher talked to her and she only said she was tired; my wife talked to her and it turned out she was mad at her boyfriend who was talking with other boys instead of giving her all his attention. How's THAT for normal teen-aged drama?)

A wheelchair-bound girl with severe CP was a little freaked by the noise & lights, so her father held her in his lap for a while. She calmed down and he held her on the floor for a long slow dance.

Parents, teachers (some of whom we never get to interact with because they're self-contained), administrators, siblings from 2 yrs old to 20-something, "normal" kids and "special" kids -- everyone electric-sliding, macarena-ing, YMCA-ing, eating food supplied by the Italian restaurant across the street, and having a great time. It was a great night. I slept happy.

If you'd been there, you'd have been hard pressed not to cry--as I have been doing while re-reading Izzy's descrption.

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