Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Queen of the Prom

posted Sunday May 1st, 2022



“Well, genetics strike again,” I told Ray yesterday morning as I stepped over a hefty percentage of my shoe collection, finding the one empty square foot of floorspace in our tiny, cluttered bedroom. He looked up from a giant pile of laundry, eyebrows raised.

“Sophie’s not going to her senior prom.”

For once, my genetic reference was not to our daughter’s extra 21st chromosome, but, rather, the rest of her DNA — the stuff we gave both our daughters that makes them short and lovingly slovenly. Apparently our gifts extend to school dances.

Neither Ray nor I went to prom. It’s safe to say we didn’t peak in high school. In the very early days of Sophie’s life, just after the surprise diagnosis, we struggled for some kind of reference point since neither of us had really had any close encounters with people with Down syndrome.

“Hey,” I said one day, shifting carefully to favor my recently C-sectioned abdomen, “at least she’ll go to her prom! She’ll probably be prom queen. Every time I see a story about a person with Down syndrome, they are either bowling or they’re prom king or queen.”

Sophie’s never enjoyed bowling. And last night, her senior prom came and went. I tortured myself a few times yesterday, scrolling through social media to see other parents’ prom posts –  her teal sequins matching his shoelaces; his beaming smile beneath a jaunty straw hat, surrounded by well-coiffed friends.

We took photos at our house, too. Sophie requested a “kitchen prom,” an idea she borrowed from her cousin, whose senior prom was canceled in 2021 thanks to the pandemic.

It felt like a pity party to me, but I kept my mouth shut. Sophie was really excited. Earlier in the day, we found a couple of fancy dresses at a thrift shop. Neither fit quite right. Ditto for Annabelle’s prom dress, which Sophie dug out of her older sister’s closet. Sophie settled for a selection from her own wardrobe, a comfy, casual black flowered dress and black wedges. She demanded a glass of champagne (I scared up a can of sparkling rose and got out our fanciest glasses) and music. We danced to one fast song then one slow song, her head tucked into my chest.

I remember my senior prom. I was at an out-of-town debate tournament, a happy coincidence since it gave me an explanation for not attending other than, “I am a complete loser no one would ever ask to the prom.” Ray recalls staying home and watching zombie movies with his best friend. In the 80s, you had a date to prom or you didn’t go. These days, I’m pretty sure that a lot of kids go with groups of friends.

“It’s okay, I don’t want to go,” Sophie told me when my eyes got wide. “It costs SIXTY FIVE dollars and the theme is Renaissance. Yuck.”

As we swayed in the kitchen to the music, Sophie wrapped her arms around me and sighed a happy sigh. I sighed, too. Closing my eyes and resting my chin on her head. I said a silent “fuck you” to the world, and a “thank you” to this girl who has shown me how to love unconditionally.

And, maybe even more important, how to put on a brave face.


Did you enjoy this article?
Share the love
Get updates!
Tags: Filed under: Uncategorized by Amysilverman

5 Responses to “Queen of the Prom”

  1. The idea of prom is way more exciting and romantic than the reality. Sophie made a wise, lovely choice.

  2. Well, tears wiped. Sounds like perfect Sophie evening.
    Z’s new DTA supposedly has a prom and my first thought was where am I going to find a dress for my 4’11″ rather large chested sweetheart who does love getting dressed up. I strolled through the store and all the dresses are designed to young ladies that are at least 5’6″ and require minimal fabric with spaghetti straps and long leg slits. I would have to cut half the dress off and find a matching turtle neck to wear under it.
    But tucked away in a corner, I found the perfect, short dress with short sleeves and is totally made of silver sequins. I don’t even know the date of the prom but I have a dress tucked away. Special needs moms just know the many meanings of a prom night.

  3. Sophie knows the best tribe to “prom” with is right there with her! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  4. Great story. Sounds like Sophie had the best prom, her choice with people she enjoys. Proms aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

  5. far too incredible to deal with the mediocrity of high school~~miss you both

Leave a Reply

My Heart Can't Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome is available from Amazon and 
Changing Hands Bookstore
. For information about readings and other events, click here.


All content ©Amy Silverman | Site design & integration by New Amsterdam Consulting