My dear Anna,
I remember when I was asked to the senior prom. It was back in 1975. I was a high school sophomore and it was Mrs. Whitehead who asked me. She was the senior class adviser.
She asked if I’d go with John, a personable, charming, smart senior with a good sense of humor. See, John was a student who had Cerebral Palsy. Thinking back, I don’t know if I really understood why she was asking me, of all people, but I happily agreed to be his prom date. Reflecting back, I’m so thankful I made the right choice; I just keep thinking I could have done a better job that night and I wish I had.
Fast-forward 40 years. Now it’s me with a son who is personable, charming, smart and entertaining — just like Johnny. But my son has high-functioning autism. Not even as visible as John’s challenges, but present, nonetheless.
Thank goodness for karma. And thank goodness for you, Anna. You stepped into our lives doing something like I had done some four decades earlier, and made prom night possible for my son. Not just possible, but truly memorable.
Anna, I love your good heart. Your kind, giving soul. I know you will make a big difference in this world because you already have. You, my dear, are special.
With all my love,
Your date’s mom
PS To all you families touched by autism, I hope you find your Anna. And to all you Annas out there, you are loved.