Snapshot Of Love: Maddie And Jon Go To The Prom

Snapshot Of Love: Maddie And Jon Go To The Prom
Maddie and Jon go to the prom. Facebook Photo: Mike Larson

My cousin's wife sent me a Facebook message this morning, suggesting I write about a photo she saw on Facebook. It was posted by a man I don't know who lives in a small Wisconsin town I've never been to.

The picture is one I've seen many times before on Facebook -- a lovely young girl on the arm of a somewhat awkward-looking teenage boy. The photo didn't strike me as anything but typical, until I read the caption, written by the boy's father:

This is my son Jon with his prom date Maddie. He is a junior and he has autism. About a month ago, Maddie, a senior, came to my office (I’m a teacher at their school) and asked if Jon’s mom and I would allow her to take him to prom. Maddie had gotten to know Jon through a school club that promotes friendships between special needs kids and regular kids. “He’s a junior,” she explained “so it’s his prom too. I just think he should have the chance to go.” I told her we would be honored to have him go with her.
During the next couple weeks, she asked what his favorite color was (orange) so she could get a dress in that color. She also made reservations for their group (they doubled with another couple)at a restaurant that served his favorite food – chicken fingers and French fries.
I encourage everyone to like and share this for three reasons:
1. To show support for special kids like Jon
2. To show support for groups that promote these friendships
3. To remind us all, in a time when we hear about all the terrible things going on, that there are wonderful kids like Maddie working to make other’s lives better.

Maddie's actions touched me deeply, especially since I saw my own son off to his first formal dance just this month. We shared a great deal of excitement leading up to the dance, particularly in our discussions around the dinner table -- "What's your date wearing?" "What will you wear?" "Are you getting her a corsage?" "What will you do afterward?" "Do you know anyone else going?" "Should we take pictures here at the house beforehand?" "Will you stop asking so many questions?"

I don't know if those discussions even took place around Jon's dinner table, but I'm certain there have been countless others....discussions many parents could never even imagine.

Look closer at the photograph. It's so much more than a prom date picture. It reveals a strong young man looking directly into the camera on what may be one of the brightest days of his life so far. It illustrates the bright spirit of a young woman engaged in compassion. But most of all, the photo shows the parent's love for his child.

I may never get to meet Maddie or Jon or his father, but I'm honored to share their portrait of love.

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    Christine Wolf

    I tend to cover life's ups and downs. I don't shy away from the tougher, more emotional stories. While I'm always willing to voice an opinion, it sometimes contradicts my innate desire to please everyone at all times. Such is this crazy life, I suppose. Ultimately, I search for meaning in the human experience, and openly share how I (try to) keep my head above water. Thanks so much for dropping by. I really appreciate hearing your thoughts.

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