We danced to the
"I had so much fun,
Rodney, thank you so much for taking me so I could Polka with my new
friends. We had so much fun, I think I danced every opportunity."
The dances went on
whether it was in someoneís two car garage, my wide screened in back
porch or wherever. My new friends had their curiosity aroused because I
was willing to readily dance at their parties.
"Hey girl!" Someone called to me "We just wanted to know where you
learned to Polka like that?"
"Why, you taught me, of
course." I laughed as we swung back and forth, around and around on the
floor. The music was all the beer-barrel Polka music no one could
resist. I knew they would never understand if I tried to explain to them
about the Flaming Arrow where the students at the boarding school
attended went every night to dance. Let them think what they wanted
about party girls or whatever they might be wondering. It was just too
much fun to turn down the chance to enjoy myself so much.
Rodney could never seem
to learn to dance, or so he said. He could waltz a bit but was never
comfortable and really didnít seem to enjoy it. So here it was, I could
dance with a kid, with another lady, with some older man or younger boy,
it didnít matter, it was all for the joy of dancing and I loved it.
Meanwhile, on a daily
basis and along with meeting attendance, service during the day, I kept
up with the therapy they had taught me at the center. Rhonda was fitted
with braces and although it was like putting a knife in my heart to see
her in them, I persevered. The therapist wanted her to stand a certain
length of time in the unbending steel staves. The idea was to try to
teach her balance and give her the chance to use her legs. I had to put
her against the wall and not leave her even for a second because she had
absolutely no balance. Evidently the part of her brain to control that
was injured. The minute the braces were taken off she crumpled into a
heap and it was as if she never experienced the thought of standing at
all. It was all a little like swimming in quick sand. The depths were
dark and endless, there were no life guards, nothing to tell a person
where a safe place might be or what would really work to save her life
not just for the day but for longer than that.
As much as I loved my new
friends, the joy shared with them and the lovely home where we lived
there was a restlessness with me. No one told me this therapy wasnít
going to work but I looked around me at the center and I saw for myself
how this was simply a means of making an attempt to do something for the
children they housed for whatever reason. Maybe it was to placate their
parents and possibly they believed in the treatment. For me, it was
obvious this wasnít the answer for Rhondaís condition. I was wondering
what would happen when it came time for her to attend school. There
wasnít even a dream of special education at the time. The center had
already told me they wouldnít treat Rhonda unless they had her full time
and I wasnít going to do that. I was unhappy and no one could help me.
There was no cure for brain damage and cerebral palsy but no one wanted
to admit that. It was like the blind leading the blind.
The study I had done at
Auntie Pudís library gave me the knowledge I needed to know about
building a childís ego and what would happen to them if that wasnít
done. All the idiosyncrasies involved were not pretty and we didnít need
that on top of what we already had. Children given over to an
institution sometimes sooner or later could be returned to their
parents. Their original
problems were with them
while new ones popped up from the trauma of having been separated from
their parents. All the case studies I read in Auntie Pudís books seemed
to parade in front of me as I watched one after another of the children
go through one bad habit after another while their parents were helpless
to do anything.
"Are you okay with
driving to the city everyday for your work?" I asked Rodney.
"Well, it is
inconvenient!" Rodney wasnít the one to complain and that was well
"What do you think about
moving to the city? A childrenís hospital with the University of
Oklahoma has a therapy program and will be willing to take Rhonda. Iím
ready to move closer and make a try with that. One of the other motherís
who was with the program is going since they do not require the child to
be housed with them."
Rodney and I had been
married now for three years but I didnít know, I really didnít, how he
would feel about giving up our hard won home in Norman, Oklahoma. The
work and sacrifice we made to get us into this spacious, lovely place
would be just thrown away. The decision made according to my conscious
which would not allow for material things to rule ultimately was the
best for the life of our child and was the best thing to do.