Q19: Life With Charley – Pwomp and Circumstance

Romantic relationships can be difficult, for parents.

Unfortunately, the object of your affection doesn’t always love you back, as Charley found out. “Jamie got boyfwent,” he announced one day while watching a movie. “Dat guy cherk.”

Welcome to the world of love hurts. 

“Maybe you should find a different girlfriend,” I said. What I meant was, why don’t you find a girlfriend like you? Someone with Down syndrome. Someone you have a prayer of dating.

But Charley won’t date anyone who has DS. He’s afraid he’s going to catch it. I said to him once, “You know, Charley, there’s nothing wrong with having Down syndrome. You have DS, and there’s nothing wrong with you.”

“Not me,” he said.

One of the baffling things about Charley is that on one hand, he doesn’t ever think he’s not good enough. On the other hand, he denies his DS.

Both Brad and I have told him, “Having Down syndrome just adds to who you are.” 

And he says, “Yep, I are.”

He’s good friends with some of his classmates who have DS. Just don’t suggest that he ask them out. It’s not happening. Pp. 302 – 303

Has your child had a crush on someone that didn’t return his/her feelings?  How did you navigate your child’s first broken heart?
Does your child acknowledge his/her Down syndrome?


Prom has become a rite of passage for high school students.  It’s one of the events of life that everyone remembers and talks about for years to come.   Many students with special needs either don’t attend prom, or go with “surrogate” dates: friends who want to help make the evening special for someone, but have no romantic interest in that person.  Charley’s friend, Jordan, shared her evening with him.

We turn for one last wave goodbye. I think about what a good job Jordan’s parents have done in raising her, and what a role model she and Austin are for others, sharing their date with Charley like that. 

Who does that? Who shops for a gown and gets all gussied up to spend the evening with a special needs person? Who sits in the front seat while another guy sits in the back with his girlfriend. I’ll tell you who.

Someone who knows a boy may be different, but he’s worth the fancy footwork. 

Someone who, by way of peer tutoring, sees past the disability.

Someone who is man enough allow another boy to be a man.

Someone who bridges the schism for a boy who might otherwise sit home on this once-in-a-lifetime night.

Someone who’s willing to bend so a young man can stand tall.  P. 327

Did your child attend his/her prom?  Did he/she go with a “real” date, or with a friend?

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One comment on “Q19: Life With Charley – Pwomp and Circumstance
  1. Susan Holcombe says:

    Rion went to 4 proms and a Valentines dance. He went with his best female friend (a girl he has known since second grade who has special needs but not DS), then a girlfriend with DS, a group of friends from his Special Ed class, and lastly his senior year of high school he went to the prom with his childhood crush who was already a senior at Clemson. http://youtu.be/C5Q4rtAXvz8. I heard from some teens that they were the first on the dance floor and got the party started. Once they started dancing, everyone started.

    But we have drama. While Rion is away at college, he has a girlfriend here at home…the sweet girlfriend from high school (reunited). The other day he called me very upset because she told him they are “on a break.” Once I started thinking about it, I realized he had spoken to her when she is normally at work. Then I realized….she was ON HER BREAK. Sure enough, I was right. He is so relieved.

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