I was recently part of a story that is too good not to share. It is long, but worth reading. It involved a princess, her Prince Charming, and one magical night. I am not a big believer in fairy tales, but it was hard to deny that a night so perfect could be anything other than something from a story book.
The main character and protagonist of our story is Daena. She stands at roughly 3 feet tall, is 16 years old, is a freshman in high school, and is full of sass. She is a big lover of the show Beat Bobby Flay, a guacamole making expert, and also happens to have been born with Kabuki Syndrome. Kabuki Syndrome is a rare disease that impacts many parts of a person’s body and development. When Daena was born it was unclear what her life expectancy might be, but as all good leading characters do, she has defied the odds and rallied back to health more than once.
Recently Daena has been struggling a bit with feeling well. Her stomach is quite large from water retention, it is hard for her to stand for any length of time, and because some of her organs are not cooperating she tends to be in at least some pain all of the time. Through all of this she perseveres. Now, although it is very important to know all of this about our protagonist, it is also worth noting that our story involves many supporting characters as well.
I think it is fair to say that the staff members at my school, the school which Daena attended until she left us to be a big high schooler, can be considered the fairy godmothers in the story. We found out that Daena hadn’t been feeling well so we set up times to visit with her in an attempt to perhaps brighten her spirits. It was after one of these visits that something special fell into place. It was honestly almost like it was written in the stars.
After visiting with Daena I was chatting with my foster son (we will call him J) while he and I were driving home from renting his tux for prom. They attend the same high school so I like to give him updates on how she is doing. I was telling him about how she hadn’t been feeling well, and mentioned that I did not know whether she would be able to attend her prom in the future or if she would not be well enough seeing as it was two years away. He looked at me and said, “Why doesn’t she come to prom this year?” I would consider him the sidekick of our fairy tale, almost like the mice in Cinderella. They fiercely believe in making the protagonist happy and would do what they thought necessary to make that person feel important.
Without a second thought, J arranged for his friend to ask Daena to prom. His friend, who we will refer to as Prince Charming, became one of my very favorite people over the next couple of weeks. He promposed to our princess (which apparently is now a right of passage for prom goers). Daena is a lover of the Wizard of Oz so as an homage to the movie Prince Charming made a sign that said, “I would be over the rainbow if you would go to prom with me,” which he presented to our beautiful heroine during 6th period. She cried and it could not have been more beautiful.
The next two weeks that followed were busy, but perfect. An e-mail was sent to our school community, and a post was put on Facebook, explaining what had been happening and asking people to donate towards Daena’s big adventure. The response was overwhelming to say the least. Close to $1,000 was donated.
With more than enough money in hand, Daena’s family set out to find the perfect dress and accessories for the big night. Daena’s family members were, aside from Prince Charming, the most important supporting characters in this story. They love her so unconditionally, and would stop at nothing to ensure that they dotted every prom related i and crossed every prom related t. There were no evil step parents or siblings anywhere to be found in this story. Although the search for the perfect dress was not easy, they were able to find it over an hour from home at a boutique called Atiana’s Boutique. Daena picked the biggest dress in the store. To say that it looked like a dress straight out of Cinderella would be an understatement. With a dress that fancy the only sensible choice for shoes was heels, of course, so our princess was given permission by her mom to buy her first pair ever.
As previously mentioned, Daena’s body shape is unique, and because of this, alterations were required on her fairy tale gown. Through the use of social networking an amazing seamstress, Mary from Brides to Be in Glastonbury, was found. She took the dress from something that would not close around Daena’s stomach, and was easily two feet too long, to something breathtaking. Everything was starting to come together, and finally the day we had all been waiting for arrived.
The community had stepped up in so many ways for Daena throughout this whole experience, and prom day was no different. The corsage was purchased by some of the fairy godmothers at my school and the flower shop, It’s So Ranunculus, threw in the boutonnière for free. The beautiful secretary from the school did Daena’s nails, and my friend did her make up. We had a last minute snafu with the hairdresser getting sick, but as things have a way of doing, everything worked out. One of the parents from the school made sure Daena’s hair was prom ready.
I can honestly say that on that day Daena was happier than I remember her being in a very long time. She chatted with me as we awaited the arrival of all the women who spoiled her while getting her ready, and she smiled in a way that you would never expect of a person who lives with chronic pain. She was truly joyful.
Around 5 p.m. we all arrived for pictures. Princess Daena in her white and light blue dress and long white gloves, and Prince Charming in his matching tux and light blue vest, looked sensational together. Daena drank sparkling cider, posed for pictures, and emitted such a sense of joy that it was impossible not to feel the happiness radiating from her. From what I hear, she went on to have a pretty flawless evening and managed to live it up for the majority of the prom. She even made it home before her carriage turned back into a pumpkin.
This is the story of a beautiful princess, a community of people who love her, and one magical night that all of us will remember forever. It is amazing what can happen when people come together to surround someone with love.